Ever since the occupation of Arakan by Burman invaders in 1784 CE the Rohingya Arakanese have been made targets of extermination and genocide with the ulterior motive of turning Arakan into a Buddhist dominated province of Burma. Following separation of Burma from British India and attainment of Home Rule in 1937, the Burmese again availed the opportunity to continue its policy of Rohingya extermination – genocide. However the 1962 military take-over drastically changed the Burmese political scenario. Extermination and genocide increased, and within nearly 4 decades about half (1.5 million) of total Rohingya population had been forced to flee their homeland and those remaining in the country are counting their days in utter misery, fear and frustration.
With scenic splendors of blue and green mountains in the background and a long coastal belt, Araka landscape was captivating to sea-farers of early times. Islam was first introduced by Arab merchants about 8th century CE and they stayed behind marrying local women and making it their permanent abode. Since then Muslims and Arab nations were rooted to the soil of Arakan. However, this serenity was spoiled by the invading Burman Hordes from the other side of the Arakan hilly range in 1406 CE. The kingdom had fallen and the Arakanese King Naramelkola took shelter in Muslim Bengal where he learned Islam and embraced it during his 20 year exile in 1430CE. Since then the Muslims ruled Arakan for more than three centuries before the Burman king again invaded and occupied it in 1784 ending Muslim rule forever.
Burmese scheme of "Budhistation" of Arakan
The Burmese leaders believe that they can hold onto Arakan forever if Arakan can be turned into a purely Buddhist state. The Burman and the misguided Arakanese Buddhists thus embarked on the dangerous course of total extermination and genocide of the Arakan Muslims.
Anti Muslim Riots and mass massacres
In 1942 there was an administrative vacuum following British withdrawal from Arakan. The Burmese taking advantage of the situation incited Buddhist communal forces in Arakan that led to communal riots in which 100 000 Muslims were killed and hundreds of thousands fled to East Bengal. Again in 1949, the Burma Territorial Forces (BTF) manned by communal forces in Arakan let loose a reign of terror killing thousands of Muslims while razing hundreds of Muslim settlements to the ground.
Revocation of citizenship with accompanied massive human rights violations.
After the return of refugees from Bangladesh, the socialist junta promulgated a most prejudicial and racially discriminatory law called "Burma Citizenship law of 1982" which declared Rohingya Muslims as foreigners in their own homeland. It was followed by massive human rights violations. The abuse includes gang rape, summary executions, torture, severe beatings and forced labour.
Between 1992 and 1995 more than 1500 Rohingyas, particularly youths have been summarily executed. Thousands more have been arrested and tortured. Muslim women are being raped and forcibly married as an offical policy. Centuries old mosques have been demolished and hundreds of new Buddhist villages with pagodas and monasteries have been built with the sweat and toil of the Muslims. An artificial famine has been created to starve the Muslims to death or compel them to flee.
The extermination, the ethnic cleansing, the massacres and genocide of the Rohingya by the Burmese military has in fact no parallel in the contemporary world. The Rohingyas are the victims of the worst kind of human rights abuses known to civilized society. If the present trend continues, God Forbid, the Muslim entity in Arakan would be completely erased within a short span of time unless the champion and advocates of human rights and countries upholding peace and justice take cognisance of the issue and take positive and pragmatic steps before it is too late.
The Arakan Rohingya Muslim Youth Association of Arakan, Burma would like to remind us that, "God Will not change the condition of a people unless they change themselves." (Holy Quran.) The Rohingya need moral as well as material strength to face the ever-growing challenge of their very existence and survival. That strength can only be gained through complete unity of Rohingya masses and giving all possible sacrifices in the ongoing struggle to release Rohingya’s right to self-determination, the only means to guarantee the fate of our future generations.
For more information contact Muslim Aid Tel. +44 2073 877171 UK