By :Nasrullah Khan
Security Forces in Myanmar have released strange abominations over the muslim populace living in Western beach front territory of Rakhine, Myanmar The recent crisis of persecution is a corollary of events to crackdown the Rohingya muslims since 1970. These crackdowns have resulted into worst kind of ethnic cleansing orchestrated by Myanmar security forces in coordination with Buddhist monks.
Formerly Burma now known as Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country. It is surrounded by China, India, Laos, Bangladesh and Thailand. Myanmar enjoys friendly relations with its big neighbours i.e. China and India.
Muslim population constitutes nearly 4% of the total population in majority Buddhist state with nearly 87% Buddhist population in addition to Christian and Hindu communities having 6% and 50% population, respectively. Rohingya muslims are distinct in culture, language, religious practices and otherwise as compared to several other communities.
In 1962, Myanmar army took over charge of the country as a result of military coup. Army continues to exercise its influence in the present so called democratic set up by National League for Democracy (NLD). Present government serves as a puppet into the hands of military junta. Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is regarded as democratic icon in the West and Myanmar. She, being foreign minister, defends catastrophic ethnic cleansing manipulated by army and unruly Buddhist monks.
Rakhine is one of the poorest areas where over 1.1 million Rohingya muslims live. It is strategically important for Myanmar and neighbouring India. According to some reports, India intends to invest in Rakhine for construction of road infrastructure etc. Recent persecution of Rohingya muslims in Rakhine has rendered hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Thousands have tried to flee from Rakhine towards neighbouring states. Analysts opine that Indian secret agency RAW is supporting Myanmar security forces for vacating Rakhine so that Hindu and Buddhist population might be accommodated over there & hence ethnic cleansing.
Rohingya muslims have been living in Rakhine since 12th century A.C. according to historians and Rohingya groups. During British raj (1824-1948), the then Burma was a part of the sub continent. Population migrated to other areas of United India i.e. Bangladesh for livelihood etc. After independence of Myanmar in 1948, government viewed such migration “illegal”. Bangladesh refused to grant citizenship to the migrants, according to Human Rights Watch in a 2000 report. Similarly, Buddhists also consider Rohingya muslims to be Bengalis and reject the term “Rohingya” as a recent invention, created for political reasons.
These measures have left Rohingya muslims helpless. Consequently, the community ceased to exercise the right to work, study, travel, marry, practice their religion and access to health services. They can’t exercise their right to cast a vote and more importantly, their identity is not recognised. Rohingya muslims can’t enter into any profession like medicine, law or run for office even their movement is restricted followed by severe punishment if such restrictions are breached.
Thousands of Rohingya muslims have been killed in the recent ruthless massacre & persecution by Myanmar security forces coupled with Buddhist monks. Men are slaughtered; women raped; some others starved to death; their houses and buildings razed to the ground and nothing but death, destruction and endless lust to persecute the Rohingya muslims continues. Moreover, conditions have been created by government seeking to wipe out the group. Attempts have also been made to prevent births within the group as well as to restrict or block marriages.
It is hard to find an example of ethnic cleansing in the recent past but institutionalised and worst kind of persecution of the Rohingya muslims in Myanmar has severe implications for peace. It is high time for the United Nations to take practical measures on immediate basis to put a curb to the genocide in Myanmar lest it should be too late. It is high time for world champions of love, peace and liberty to give reason a chance to prevail and survive. It is again high time for the entire humanity to stand united and save the humankind from being mutilated and disfigured. Merely raising slogans and demonstrations won’t do.