The Maungdaw fire brigade has issued a restriction to town residents of Block Two not to cook in the morning during the university entrance examinations starting on March 13, according to a block administration member.There are about 20,000 Rohingya living in Block Two, near the town’s Clock Tower and High School – formerly a Middle School — where the exams are being held for about one week.
This is the first year there has been a cooking ban during exams.
In the morning of March 13 at 9 a.m., Maungdaw assistant fire brigade officer U Maung Htway entered Rohingya households in Block Two without permission, with his shoes on, and went into kitchens, where he tested to see if the clay stoves were hot or cold. If they were found hot, he demanded a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 kyat, according to Hamida, a local resident.
In fact, the stoves were still warm from use earlier in the morning, but the officer used this as a pretext to demand money, said Rashid, a retired government staff member.
“This is one kind of extortion of the Rohingya community,” he said.
There are two examination centers in Maungdaw, but the fire brigade has only imposed the cooking ban in Block Two, not in the other center at Myoma Khayandan, he explained.