Township court rejects complaint lodged by Kantblu farmers

A Kantblu Township court has rejected a complaint lodged by farmers against tenant farmers. The tenant farmers were hired by the army to harvest the crops planted by local farmers whose lands were seized by the army in Kantblu.Although the judge initially accepted the complaint, which was last month, he ultimately decided not to let the case proceed.“In the middle of last year, soldiers and tenant farmers destroyed our crops. They set fire to our shelter. We filmed and photographed it. When we sued them at the court through the police station, they first seemed to accept our complaint, but then the court rejected it two weeks later. They told us that if we were not satisfied with the court’s decision, we should to lodge a complaint to higher court,” said a local farmer from Khaowntar village.The army destroyed some crops and hired tenant farmers to reap the rest. The army is now guarding the crops and will not allow anyone to enter. The farmers cannot reap their own crops, and they are heavily in debt for their investments on the crops, said local farmers.“We were devastated when we saw they were reaping our crops. We felt that we had been cornered to be beaten when the court rejected our complaint. We lost pigeon peas and sugarcane plantations worth millions of kyats,” said farmer Kyaw Khant.The farmers report that they face unemployment, a lack of healthcare and education services and shelter, and they blame this on the Myanmar government.“They set fire to our house and sent the breadwinner of my family to the prison. The rest of them are on trial. We have to go to a court hearing instead of working for a living. We are in heavy debt. We don’t know how to respond. We want to do something to them,” said farmer Daw Khin.Local farmers said they are facing a lack of funds and other issues, which prevent them of bringing the case to another court.