Village Headman Accused of Punching Woman over Land Dispute

Khin San, a farmer of Nam Sowlor, Namma, Mohnyin township

The village administrator has denied the charge and threatened to sue the woman for defamation.

A woman has accused a village administrator in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township of punching her during an argument over a land dispute.

The incident, which occurred last Wednesday in the village of Nam Sowlor, in the Namma area of Mohnyin, took place in the presence of township officials who were surveying the disputed land.

The woman, a local farmer named Khin San, had sent a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation to seek help in settling the matter. However, when officials came to carry out a survey, she and the accused started arguing.

According to a relative of Khin San, Htay Win, who is the administrator of Nam Sowlor, punched the woman on the right side of her chest while the officials were inspecting the disputed paddy fields.

“She called me after right it happened. She said she was in so much pain. She told me the village headman punched her,” said Mwe Hlaing, who was taking care of Khin San in the hospital.

Khin San was initially admitted to the local hospital in Namma, but was transferred to Mohnyin hospital on July 26 after her condition worsened.

Mwe Hlaing said Khin San intended to press charges against Htay Win for the alleged attack. Htay Win said he rejected the accusation and was considering suing Khin San for defamation.

According to his account, Khin San provoked the incident.

“Officials from the township came to survey the paddy fields. She kept arguing with them, so I told her not to argue so much. But we couldn’t stop her, and then she pointed her finger at me and started arguing with me. Then I removed her finger from in front of me. She fell down by herself. I didn’t punch her,” Htay Win told KNG.

The dispute concerns three acres of paddy fields that Khin San had given to her nephew, who later died. When she tried to reclaim the land, the former village headman, Kyaw Myint, told her to come to his office with a Form 7 showing her ownership.

When she did go to the office on December 18 of last year, a clerk told her to sign a document and gave her 1 million kyat (US$663).

“I later realized that they had bought my paddy field. I told them that a million kyat was not enough, because I could have sold it for 3 million kyat per acre. Then they negotiated with me and offered to give me 1.8 million kyat per acre. I agreed to this, but I still haven’t received the rest of the money,” said Khin San.

 

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