Students Demand Arakan State Day for Official Holiday Skip to main content

Students Demand Arakan State Day for Official Holiday

Sittwe: Many high school students in Sittwe did not go to classes on 15 December, which is recognized as Arakan State Day, and demanded the day be designated as an official holiday in Arakan, said one female student.

Arakan-state-day Arakan state day held in Rangoon
She said, "December 15 is our state day but the authority has not recognized the day as a government holiday in our state. So we refused to attend school on 15 December. We want the government to recognize the day as a holiday in Arakan State."

Arakan had status as a division in Burma from 1948, when the country gained its independence, to 1974, when a new constitution was approved by General Ne Win's Burmese socialist government. Arakan became a state in 1974 in accordance with the new constitution.

Arakan was a sovereign country that existed for 5,000 years before the Burmese king invaded in 1784. Since then, Arakan has been ruled by foreign powers, including Burma, Britain, and Japan. When Burma gained independence, Arakan became a part of the Burmese union.

"Our state is turning 36 on 15 December, 2010. The day is important in modern Arakanese history. So we have a duty to recognize our state day ourselves despite that the government has neglected the day," the student said.

The current military government does not want the country to be a federal union nor grant equal rights to ethnic nationalities in Burma. Because of this, the government does not want to encourage such holidays as state days in Burma.

Before the current SPDC government came to power, there were many functions marking Arakan State day, with many cultural shows put on every year. Since the government came to power, the holiday has been neglected by authorities.

The authorities have also neglected Arakan state day this year in the capital Sittwe, but Arakanese people held ceremonies marking the holiday in some villages in Kyauk Pru Township and Kyauk Myung in Rangoon.


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