Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | ePaper

Rohingya crisis : Whither the humanity ?

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Professor Dr.  Anwarul Karim :
Rohingyas are getting killed like birds or animals almost every day. Many of them have been facing death with babies and children at the river Nafe while fleeing to Bangladesh by boats or by improvised arrangement. Dead bodies with babies are seen floating ashore. According to UN official source, over thousands were killed by the army ordered by Suu Kyi - the de-facto head of the country. She claims to be Buddhist.
But Buddhism is a continuation of Hinduism according to Western scholars like Bath. And for this, she orders killing of Rohingyas taking them as trrrorists. It is again Suu Kyi who excluded the Rohingyas from becoming the citizen of the country for reasons best known only to her. Rohingyas have been living in the present Myanmar since 15th century. They were also known as Rakhines.
 It is indeed a shame for the world that such a lady could be awarded Nobel Peace Prize!  More surprising, the Modi government supports the killing as Modi himself killed thousands of Muslims while he headed the Gujrat government. Still the Muslims are being killed in the name of protecting cows. A female journalist (Gauri Lankesh) was recently killed for protesting killing of the Muslims.
Suu Kyi has been committing crimes against humanity. She should face trial. Muslims were killed in Bosnia also. The killers faced trial and were punished by the International court.           
The world today is merely a helpless onlooker and has been performing a very passive role when the Rohingyas of Myanmar have been facing the gruesome genocide and killings of their  innocent people, men, women and children by the state owned army of Myanmar where the country is being  ruled by its de-facto leader Aung San Suu-Kyi. She once earned the sympathy of the world for her fight for human rights and democracy against the Military Junta of her country and she was confined in her house by them for years. Suu-Kyi was awarded Nobel Peace Prize for her fight. What an irony of fate that such a lady could order for killing of the innocent Rohingya Muslims branding them as terrorists. It is a shame for the humanity at large.  She now appears to be the scourge of God as her religion does not permit her to do such a crime against humanity.
The world body made earnest appeal to stop killing of innocent people and settle the issue with the world leaders. But she looks indomitable and gives a deaf ear to all these requests. She is  resolute and defiant and  carries on human massacre in her state without fear. There is no glory in killing unarmed and innocent people. Who do you call a terrorist? Suu Kyi and her army junta or the Rohingyas?   
How inhuman the thing appears to be: the army junta started killing people from helicopter while they had been fleeing for life taking the babies in their lap to safety. The world Nobel Prize Committee should take back the Nobel Peace Prize from her. These people as are called Rohingya Muslims are being tortured and killed for being Muslims. They were not allowed to own the land of Rakhine State although they lived there for generations together.
These Rohingyas speak Bangla as they migrated from Bangladesh long long ago when it became part of Indian peninsula. The Rohingyas have only one fault that they are Muslms. Even living in the country for generations over the centuries failed to earn for them the right to live as citizen.
It is indeed unfortunate  that the Modi government supports the Myanmar government for their action. In India, Muslims are also not safe. The recent tussle between the outgoing Vice President Mr. Ansari and Modi government exposed the truth. Bangladesh, however, maintains a communal harmony.    
The world appreciates Bangladesh for being humane towards the Rohingyas. Despite severe population and food crisis, the government (of Bangladesh) acts judiciously for the cause of humanity. But things must not be allowed to continue as it appears now. The time is fast running out. The world leaders must unite themselves for the immediate solution.  
The United Nations (UN) today stands as a mute monument of gross human failure and has been exposed as a hollow powerless body. The OIC must play its role.  They also failed miserably in solving the problems of the  Palestinians. Yet the sun shines over the cloud, the world will certainly take a rebirth. Man is for man, no matter what color, race or creed does he or she belongs to.    
According to historical source, migration from the Indian subcontinent to Myanmar (formerly Burma) had taken place for centuries. The country was inhabited by people belonging to Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. Bengal (now Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal) has historical and cultural links with Rakhine State (formerly Arakan). Bengali-speaking settlers are recorded in Arakan since at least the 15th century;  Mrauk U was then the capital of Arakan kingdom. The population increased in the 17th century, as slaves were brought in by Arakanese raiders and Portuguese following raids into Bengal.
The term Rohingya, in the form of Rooinga, was recorded by the East India Company as early as 1799, but Burmese nationalists dispute its origin. Indian migration increased during the period of British rule, as Burma was a part of India until 1937.
Arakan had the largest percentage of British Indians in Burma. During World War II , the Arakan massacres in 1942 involved communal violence between British-armed V Forces Rohingya recruits and pro-Japanese Rakhines, polarizing the region along ethnic lines.In 1936 and 1939, several Arakanese Indians like Gani Markan were elected to the Legislative Council of Burma under the Burmese native category in British Burma.
After Burmese independence in 1948, Rohingya leaders held high ranking positions in the Burmese and also in the Parliament. In 1948, M. A. Gaffar sought official recognition for the Rohingya as one of Burma's ethnic groups. One of Burma's first two female legislators, Zura Begum, was elected by Rohingyas in 1951. In 1960, Sultan Mahmud proposed a separate province for the Rohingyas. Discrimination against minorities increased after the 1962 Burmese coup d'état. In 1982, General Ne Win's government enacted the Burmese nationality law, which did not recognize the Rohingya as one of the eight "national races", stripping the citizenship rights of Rohingyas. Later, the Burmese military junta launched a military crackdown against Rohingyas in 1991-1992, which caused 250,000 refugees to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and brought the two countries to the brink of war.
The Rohingya maintain they are long-standing residents of western Myanmar, and that their community includes both a mixture of precolonial and colonial settlers. The official stance of the Myanmar government, however, has been that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. This contention of Myanmar government does not hold water because Bangladesh is a new born country in 1971. And no Bangladeshi ever migrated from this country to Myanmar. These people who are now known as Rohingya were citizens of the present Myanmar  from time immemorial.   
Myanmar's government does not recognize the term "Rohingya" and it prefers to refer to the community as Bengalis. In Myanmar, there are many Hindu and Buddhist Bengalis. They also migrated from Bangla since bygone days. But Myanmar government did not take any action against them. It appears that they are motivated and bent on crushing Muslim Rohingyas.  
Rohingya campaign groups, notably the Arakan Rohingya National Organization, demand the right to "self-determination within Myanmar". The present Myanmar was once a part of Arakan Kingdom. Once Alaol and Daulat Kazi, the two great poets of Bengal were part of the royal court of Arakan and glorified Arakanese Kingdom in the 17th century. Arakan and Bengal were then very close as neighbors and it had a number of Muslim and Hindu populations.
The Myanmar government is making a false plea to unsettle the Rohingyas who had been living in that country by birth for generations.  The present action of the Myanmar army junta led by Suu Kyi killing innocent unarmed Muslims is no doubt barbaric.  Let us pray : let good sense prevail. Let there be light over darkness!

(The writer is a Pro-Vice Chancellor, Northern University Bangladesh. E-mail dranwar.karim@gmail.com)   

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