Future Looks Bleak for ethnic Rohingya

By Nurul Islam
Source: News from Bangladesh

In Arakan, the Rohingyas have been suddenly made an illegal immigrant community by the Burmese military regime through an amendment to the Burma citizenship law in 1982. With the loss of their legitimate rights as the bonafide citizens of Burma, the Rohingyas have become homeless in their own home. The authority has been subjecting them to severe persecutions including serious restrictions of their movement even from village to village which affected severely on their daily life. The Rohingyas are passing through the darkest phase of their long vicissitude of history in Arakan where they have been living for centuries. Every sensible Rohingya could feel that they have been pushed to the brink of destruction and just needed a final push to fall in the abyss of no return. The Burmese rulers are achieving what they want . They want the Rohingyas educationally backward, economically crippled, socially disunited, politically liquidated and numerically negligible.

No Muslim marriage can be solemnized without official permission which is difficult to obtain even paying handsome bribe. It is because junta takes serious tension over the increasing of Rohingya population in Arakan for why junta is being used its ill-mooted mechanism to keep control over the Rohingya population by imposing restriction on marriage and even new birth which is a clear cut religious discrimination.

Thousands of Rohingya youth that facing unemployment and uncertain future are fleeing Arakan to South-East Asian countries by boat at life risk are being caught by security forces of different countries while on their perilous journey. In 2007 a group of Rohingya youth were rescued by Indonesian and Indian navy while adrift on the sea by Thai navy without engine and food. A good number of Rohingya youth were died due to starvation and thirsty during adrift. The new episode of Rohingyas` flight by boat to foreign lands began since later 2006 as all other means of reaching the desired destinations normally have been blocked. Previously bulk of Rohingya emigrants were destined for Saudi Arabia. However since last few years the Bangladesh and Saudi authorities took stringent measures to prevent travel of Rohingyas to 3rd countries particularly to Saudi Arabia. The new situation in the traveling compelled Rohingyas to chose the sea route as alternate way for searching livelihood even at the risk of their lives. Arakan State is a closed zone for the media and so there is no scope for the world media to cover what is going on with the Rohingyas inside Arakan, Myanmar.

The Buddhist Rakhines and the Muslim Rohingyas are the major ethnic minorities of Arakan and both communities were maintaining peaceful co-existence except occurring minor disputes rarely. But surprisingly riot between the two ethnic groups occurred in 1942 by the instigation of Magh ( Rakhine ) and Burman Leaders due to religious discrimination and political jealousy. Many British soldiers left leaving behind a large number of arms, which easily reached the hand of Maghs ( Rakhines ). The result of the Muslim massacre of 1942 is that, 307 Muslim villages had disappeared from the soil of Arakan. More than 100,000 Muslims were massacred and 80,000 fled to Chittagong and Rangpur Refugee camps.

The Muslim majority area of the east of Kaladan River had turned into a Muslim minority area. But the loss in terms of human civilisation and moral value is much greater. The 1942 massacre gave the scar mark of bitterness in the minds of the two-sister people against one another who, otherwise, peacefully co-existed in Arakan since 1200 years back. As wave of the bitterness, The Rakhines are not ready to recognize the Rohingyas as sons of soil of Arakan and the military junta is taking it as advantage and trying to eliminate Rohingya Muslims from the soil of Arakan by imposing various restrictions on Rohingyas exclusively.

Fencing along Myanmar-Bangladesh border to resist push back: — Twenty years after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, a repressive barricade is being quietly raised in the jungles of Burma. The Burmese military junta has begun erecting a concrete and barbed-wire fence along its western border with Bangladesh, allegedly to prevent smuggling, but more probably to prohibit the return from Bangladesh of some 200,000 Rohingya migrants — a persecuted Burmese Muslim minority grooup who are now stateless. Burma’s new barrier symbolizes the past five decades of military rule and isolation from the free world. It should also remind the West of the brutal repression of ethnic minorities who abide mass atrocities behind Burma’s barricade.

Rohingya and the 2010 election: The aftermath elections of Burma Independence, the Rohingyas contested in every election and achieved as desired. As per Internation election Law, the only citizens of respective countries could contest in National elections. So, denying the citizenship of Rohingya by amending citizenship act-1982 is a political motivation of military government. The Narinjara News, Arakan published a news on 23/11/2009 that military junta is going to issue “green card†( gest citizen ) to Rohingyas in Arakan just the moment of 2010 election with the purpose of vote casting. This is quite unjust because historically Rohingyas are the citizens of Myanmar for why they are deserving for “ Red Card†as other citizens of Myanmar. Issuing green cards to Rohingyas and campagning in Rohingya villages with the coordination of Rohingya merchants from Yangon is just to exploit the votes of Rohingyas by helping them financially as consolidation. The money that donated to the villagers is collected from Rohingya merchants living in Yangon. But no hope from junta for solution of Rohingya ethnicity issue is hinted to them. Rather the villagers dare not to raise questions on the issue because of fear of retaliation.

Since seizure of power by military dictators in 1962, the scope of raising questions by the ethnic minorities including the Rohingya to their military rulers has become bleaked. Rather the military dictators have reserved rights to take severe action against the ethnic minorites , even killing without verdict or proper allegation. For example the world communities are well aware about the brutalities against Karen from eastern Burma. From 1948 civil war beteen junta and Karen liberation army has been introduced in easter Burma . Seldom the military burnt the Karen villages and killed the villagers for why about 20 Lac Karen and other ethnic people from eastern Burma refuged in Thailand. Similar cases are happening in Arakan of western Burma. Military junta delibrately persecuting Rohingyas by using various mechanisms with the intention of eliminating them from their native land, Arakan. The worst mechanism is rehabilating of Buddhists in Rohingya owned land, even some times evicted Rohingyas to build model villages by using Rohing youth as forced labors for why the Rohingya youth compelled to leave Arakan in search of livelihood because they are the only earning members of their families. To do so, they have to lose lives and face harrasment and harsh treatment in different countries of the world.

Conclusion; After long been observation the prevailing situations of the world`s most persecuted ethnic Rohingya, I have come to assess with grief that the future of the Rohingyas looks bleack. So far, not a single international quarter even a Muslim country come forward to advocate on behalf of this persecuted people. Not only that so far, no Rohingya Legal political Organization is seen engaging to protect the derooted community. It is also realized that both the Rakhine and military junta are rejecting the term “ Rohingya†and they said that Muslims living in Arakan are Bengali and they arrived in Arakan during the british rule for why they are alleged as illegal migrants from Bengal. Their claim is baseless because there are ironic historical backgrounds on existence of Muslims in Araka far before British rule is commenced in Arakan and their allegation against the ethnic identity of Arakan Muslims, “ Rohingya †is also a fabricated and politically motivated depict because during the Democratic government`s rule in Burma Rohingya Language was approved for broadcasting in state Radio daily and Mayu frontier was established exclusively for Rohingya Muslims. However, as long as the military junta exists in Burma, there will be no change in government policy in favor of ethnic minorities including Rohingya until and unless the international quarters pressurize the junta. Nevertheless, the UNSC tried to pass resolutions against barbaric military junta, but all attempts were invain due to patronizing Burma by some big powers for their economic interest. It is a grievous matter that UN is unable to take any action against the world`s longest term ( 47 years ) of barbaric military rule, despite UN was formed to protect humanity and safe guard Human Rights.

Nurul Islam
E-mail: wisdom_peace@ymail.com

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