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Commentary / Editorial

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Arakan: A Field of Muslim Genocide

Tuesday April 20 2010 16:39:35 PM BDT

By Nurul Islam

Rohang, the old name of Arakan, was very familiar region for the Arab seafarers even during the pre-Islamic days. Tides of people like the Arabs, Moors, Turks, Pathans, Moguls, Central Asians, Bengalis came mostly as traders, warriors, preachers and captives overland or through the sea route. Many settled in Arakan, and mixing with the local people, developed the present stock of people known as ethnic Rohingya. Hence, the Rohingya Muslims, whose settlements in Arakan date back to 7th century AD are not an ethnic group which developed from one tribal group affiliation or single racial stock. They are an ethnic group developed from different stocks of people.

The ethnic Rohingya is Muslim by religion with distinct culture and civilization of their own. They trace their ancestry to Arabs, Moors, Pathans, Moguls, Central Asians, Bengalis and some Indo-Mongoloid people. So, the Rohingyas are nationals as well as an indigenous ethnic group of Burma. They are not new born racial group of Arakan rather they are as old an indigenous race of the country as any others.In 1826 AD Arakan was annexed to the British India and it was almost depopulated.

A few months after the conclusion of the treaty of Yandabo Mr. Paton, the Controller of Civil Affairs in Arakan, submitted to the British Govt. a detailed report about the character of the country (Arakan), its extent, history, population, production and manners and customs of the inhabitants. He stated the population of Arakan as 1,00,000 (Maghs - 60,000; Muslims - 30,000; Burmese - 10,000). So on the date of conquest of Arakan by English, there had already been living thirty thousands Muslims i.e. 30 percent of the total population of Arakan. So, Rohingya Muslims are not the settlers of British period. On 8th December 1941, Japan declared war against British Government. On 7th March 1942, the Japanese invading forces occupied Rangoon, the capital city of Burma. On 23rd March 1942 Japan bombed the Akyab City of Arakan. The Japanese fighter planes again bombed Akyab on 24th and 27th March respectively.

So, the British administration withdrawn from Akyab by the end of March 1942. There was an administration vacuum in Arakan following the withdrawal of British troops from the area. The Rakhine communalists in connivance with Burma Independence Army (BIA) led by Bo Rang Aung brought about a pogrom massacring about 1,00,000 innocent Rohingya Muslims, driving out 80,000 of them across the border to East Bengal, devastating their settlements and depopulating the Muslims in some parts of Arakan. According to the London Agreement of October 7, 1947 power was handed over to the government of the Union of Burma on 4th January 1948. Since 1948, up to 1999, there have been no less than 20 major operations of eviction campaigns against the Rohingyas carried out by the successive Governments of Burma caused more than 3 Lac Rohingyas Muslims left Arakan and sheltered in Bangladesh as political refugees.

Myanmar military junta is being tried to implement its ethnic cleansing policy for why junta has been taken tough measures to do so. Junta imposed various tougher restrictions on Rohingyas. Thus they were compelled to leave Arakan for survival.. In July 1991,about 500 Rohingya businessmen were arrested under so-called “Phi-tha-ya Operation’’ and all their belongings were confiscated . They were severely tortured for none of proper allegation and sentenced to 5 years with hard labor and they were taken to the front line of military operation and used as human shield and cleansing mines or road construction projects.

In February 1992, the Lun Htin forces killed 20 refugees while crossing the Naf river to Bangladesh. One Mohd Elias was arrested with false allegation by Military intelligence Service(MIS) personnel on June 19,1992 and died on June 23 due to severe beating injuries. In the fateful morning of June 23,1993 Nasaka ( frontier securities forces) belonging to Franfru( 6-miles north of Maung Daw }arrested 5 persons namely Fayas Ahmed(32),son of Abdul Gaffar, Mohammed(32) son of Abul Hussain,Abdul Rahim(22) son of Gulam Sharif, Nagu(26) son of Abdul Kader and Kala Meah(20)son of Sayed Karim all belong to Franfru village and Dargadale village.

At the night of June 23 at about 3:30 a.m all 5 were lined up on the bank of Minglagyi creek out side the village of Dargadale and shot one by one. Another 5-arrestees namely Zahir Ahmed(26)son of Abdul Hakim,Abdul Hashim(27)son of Mohd Hussain,Shawkat (25) son of Nesu Majee,Nur Ali(35) son of Mohd Ismail and Nuru(30) son of Nagu from Franfru and Dargadale villages were killed in the night of June 27.3-women were among the arrestees and they were subjected to rape. All killings were executed without court proceedings and giving rights of defense and appeal to arrestees.

1994: Year of Barbarity at its worst;

From May,1994 alleging as RSO sympathizers or supporters, Rohingyas were taken at night from their homes and were tortured to death or buried alive. About 60,000 troops have been deployed in northern Arakan who used thousands of Rohingyas as human shields. Hundreds young Rohingyas were taken to deep forest as porters most of whom have never come back. Under false and imaginary charges thousands of Rohingyas had been gunned down and slaughtered . They were forced at gun point to kill each other by slaughtering or by striking with spades on the heads. There are instances that the brother had to kill his own brother and the father and son were killed together before the very eyes of the family members. At least 300 Rohingyas were buried in the mass graves in Maung Daw and Buthidaung townships in the year 1994 and it is ever highest record of Muslim genocide in Arakan by the fascist military rulers. A few of genocide reports given below:-

Kaloo(a) U Win Myint, Vice president of Maung Daw township NLD,U Ba Tun (a) Noor Mohd, a Geologist, S/O Ali Hussain, Fayazi Para, MDW, Rashid S/O Khalil, Siekdar Para, Maung Daw, Nurul Haque, Siekdarpara, Maung daw., Noor Hussain S/O Abdul Amin, Siekdarpara,Maung Daw, Mohammed Eliyas S/O Haji Ahamedur Rahman, Fayazipara, MDW, Fazal Ahmed, Fayazipara, Maung Daw, Yasin S/O Fayaz Ahmed, Fayazipara, Maung Daw, Hafez Hakim s/o Shafu Mistri,Zantula,Maung Daw, Habibur Rahman s/o Molvi Siddique, Gadusara,Maung Daw, Nayeem s/o U Chit Maung,NLD president,Buthidaung township, Jamal Hussain S/O Nazir Hussain,Shweza,Maung Daw, Mohd Ayub and his son , Sabrang,Buthidaung, Mohd Anowar s/o Abu Bakkar, Sabrang,Buthidaung, Moulana Mohd Ali, s/o Haji Ashraf Ali , Inden`s madarasa principal, Mohd Jamil s/o Abdur Razzak , Nganchaung village,Maung Daw, Bashir Ahmed s/o Khalil,Mythogyi, Maung Daw , Abdullah s/o Abdul Salam, Myothogyi,Maung Daw.

On 24th March,1994, Nasaka from Roingadaung camp, Maung Daw arrested some fishermen from the Naf river while fishing and took them to camp and were tortured for 5 days and finally all were killed by shooting. They were 1. Rostom Ali(35)s/o Feran Ali,Shujapara,Maung Daw, Mohd Shah(27) s/o Fetan Ali,Shujapara,Maung daw, . Zafar Ahmed(22) s/o Kala Meah,Shujapara,Maung Daw, . Abu Jamal(35)s/o Feran Ali,Shujara,Maung Daw, Rahim Ullah(35)s/o Abul Kashem, Ali Thangyaw,Maung Daw south, Rashid Ahmed(22)s/o Sayed Akbar , Ali Thangyaw, Maung Daw south, Abu Tahir(37) s/o Mohd Hussain, Ali Thangyaw,Maung Daw south, Mohd Rafique(17) s/o Mohd Aboo, Akyab.

In the first week of May,1996, a group of wood cutters spotted a pile of skeletons while cutting wood at Chowdhury valley in the west of Taimaung Hali Village,Maung Daw in what believed to be a mass grave. On learning it army personnel removed the skulls and bones of about three hundred human to unknown places. Travel restriction on the Rohingya which was imposed since military rule has been further tightened.Due to movement restriction many patients had died. U Ba Than(a)Abu Taher, a veterinary assistance of the health dept had to die at Akyab for refusing him to proceeding Rangoon on the ground of being a Rohingya Muslim. Some times, Rohingyas try to travel to Rangoon by fishing boat.But Burmese Naval forces shoot if find any Rohingya in high sea. The son-inlaw of Moulvi Ziaul Haque,the Imam of Akyab Mosque was one of the victims who was killed in high sea. His father-in-law was tortured and jailed for 3-years.

In November 1997, 17 Rohingyas were arrested by Army from Taungup on way to Rangoon by a Rakhine belonged boat and so far no news about them. It is suspected that they were killed and buried in jungle. The unfortunate youth were as follows:-

Moha Saleh s/o Salim,Deen Mohd s/o Hussain,Abu Taleb s/o Fauzi Rahman,Nabi Hussain s/o Abdur Rahman,Sultan Ahmed s/o Hafez Ahmed,Mohd Ali s/o Kashem,Kamal Hussain s/o Kashem. All above were from Buthidaung, Ismail s/o Kadir Hussain, Zakir Ahmed s/o Shuna Ali,Noor Alam s/o Amir Hussain, Abdul Salam s/o Nurul Islam. All above were from Maung Daw. Abdul Awal s/o Abdur Rahim,Yunus s/o Maung Tha Pru both from Kyauktaw and Ismail s/o Mobgol Ahmed ,Mohd Tayub s/o Ahmed from Akyab. Rohingya laborers who failed to carry the load were kicked from Hilltop by the military and many died due to injuries. Abul Kalam(35) s/o Kalu from Pomali village, Buthidaung was one of the victims.

One Khaleque was arrested at Taungyi with allegation of traveling without travel permit and was killed by Akyab MIS. In October,1993, Mohd Rafique s/o Ruhul Ameen and Khairul Ameen s/o Sayed Abbas from Maung Daw were taken by NASAKA forces on a motor boat and were stabbed to death and thrown their bodied in the Naf river. The next day fishermen found the dead bodies. In October 1993, One Lalu from Maung Daw and in April 1996, Badiur Rahman from Buthidaung were taken by MIS and never come back to their families. On June 1996 a Rohingya from Sambaniapara of Maungdaw south was shot to death by NASAKA forces from Shujapara Camp.On 10th August 1996, the notorious major Naing Oo,chairman of Pyi-tha-ya operation arrested Kala Meah from Dailpara, Maung Daw with fabricated case and demanded Kyats 200,000/-. His was killed and dead body was returned to his family due to failure to fulfill payment.

On August 10,1996 NASAKA forces intercepted one Rohingya young girl, Shuna banu(17) while she was traveling with her brother(15) from the village Sithafurikka to the village Merulla. When her brother protested, he was shot to death on the spot and raped his sister one after another and strangled her to death. On February 8,1997, NASAKA forces fired to a fishing boat in the Naf river and one Shah Alam(28) s/o Nazir hussain died on the spot. In the first week of February 1997, Moulana Abul Hussain,principal of Zoom Khara Islamia Madarasa was arrested by Maung Daw MIS for unknown reason and severely tortured. He was succumbed to his injuries on 10th,February,1997. On 12th February 1997 one Amir Hussain(18) s/o Gulal Kabir from Buthidaung detained by MIS and killed him.On 31st November 1997, a person namely Dollya from Khairipara,Maung Daw was arrested by NASAKA at Buthidayng jetty while coming back from Akyab due to over stay in Akyab. In fact, he was traveled to Akyab for treatment with travel permit. He was severely beaten and died on the spot.

Some rape and killing reports are collected from the Kaladan Press Network. The news are; In the night of March 27,2007, VPCD Chairman U Win Naing , a Buddhist settler entered the house of one Noor Ali in the absence of him and attempted to rape

the wife of Noor Ali . As defending she hit the culprit with iron rod and he was died.

The police arrested six Rohingya women including Noor Ali`s wife Didar Begom and Noor Ali. The other women were relatives and neighbors of Noor Ali. However, Women were released and Noor Ali is still languishing in jail.On April 4,2009 The Nasaka from camp no.20 of Taung Bazar shot dead a fisherman, Abdu Rahim(33) s/o Sultan Ahmed from Phuimali village, Buthidaung while he ws fishing in the river.

The dead body was thrown into deep water. On March 29,2007, Nasaka personnel forcibly entered the house of Ameena(42) in the absence of her husband, from Nyaungchaung village,Buthidaung . She was gang raped and killed. On may 5,2007, seven Nasak personnel from Pa dinn Nasaka out post arrested one Mohammed rafique(15) s/o Mohd Eliyas from Pa Dinn village , Maung Daw with the allegation of possession a mobile phone. He was tortured to death. On May 27,2007,the Military Intelligence( Sa-RA-Pa) arrested a youth namely Ruhul Amin(28) s/o Nurul Amin from Kazirbil, bali Bazar with a false allegation. He was tortured and killed.On December 29, 2009, Morium Khatoon(18) D/O Sayed Ahmed and Jarina Khatoon(25) wife of Abdul Hamid from Sikdarpara village,Naya Bazar were gang raped by 8 Nasaka forces led by Sergeant Aung San Zaw Oo infront of other family members( they were tied with rope) . Jarina Khatoon is the sister-inlaw of Morium Khatoon. The villagers rushed into the spot after hearing screaming of victims. But the six ( total 14 ) Nasaka personnel those who were waiting out side the house stopped them. The elders of the village tried to meet higher authorities. But in vain.

Conclusion;

Junta has chosen rape, killing, extortion, forced labor etc., as weapons of Rohingya extermination from the soil of Arakan. Killing without judicial proceeding is a crime against humanity and is clear violation of Article 9-3 of the International Convention on Civil and political Rights ( ICCPR )and resolution approved by the 40th session of the UN General Assembly. The Nasaka is empowered to do whatever they like to de-root Rohingyas from their ancestral land,Arakan.. Despite the facts that Burma had ratified the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of Genocide in 1956, acceded to the Convention on the rights of the child in 1991 and to the four Geneva Conventions of 12th August 1949. Under the pretext of looking for insurgents, random killing of innocent villagers is a regular routine action of the SLORC/SPDC brute forces. A military-led coup overthrew Burma's last democratically elected government, the Southeast Asian country has suffered some of the world's most egregious human rights abuses.

For activists, Burma has become synonymous with institutionalized rape, torture, forced labor, and ethnic cleansing. In the popular imagination, however, the enormity of Burma's crisis remains obscured by indifference and the overshadowing presence of disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur.There is no significant communal riot in Arakan except the unfortunate “1942 communal Riot’’ and peaceful co-existence among the Rakhine Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslims is prevailing. The ethnic minorities in Arakan well perceived about the Junta`s policy of “Divide and Rule” because more or less the Rakines are also victimizing in the hands of NASAKA forces.

According to the news dated 6/17/2009 published by a Rakhine media, ”Burmese Army soldiers have deserted over 210 women from eight villages located near the town of Rathidaung, after marrying them, said a youth who compiled three army battalions LIB 536-38 stationed from 1992 to 2008. The eight villagers are – Kha Naung Gyi, Say Kan, Kan Byin, Taung Hla Maw, Wra Thit Kay, Nga Tauk Tuu Chay and two other wards in Rathidaung- east and south. In fact, SPDC is successful in implementing its Burmanization policy within the Rakhine society due to same religion. The Rakhine or the Rohingya lonely never rid life from prevailing situation. So the Rakhine and the Rohingya must understand the need of united movement against SPDC in order to playing a positive role when a federal goverment is established in Burma in future.

Eventually, I would like to make a clarion call to world communities including Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia to show compassion and sympathy to the Rohingya refugees and take stern measures to protect them. There is no hope of improving life of the people of Burma unless the long rooted military dictatorship is removed for ever for why international attention to the issue of the people of Burma is inevitable. Not only military junta but also the Rakhines are denying Rohingyas as indigenous people of Arakan due to their political intention and motivation. From Independence and till now in all the general elections, Rohingyas were allowed to vote and contest. Even in 1990 election, 4-Rohingya MP were elected. So, denial of Rohingya citizenship is unjustified and against fundamental rights. Reportedly junta is now desperate to attain support of Rohingyas in 2010 election. Junta uses Rohingyas to retain power. But Junta does not care to their future. The neighboring countries of Myanmar and the 3rd countries including Saudi Arabia should understand about their severe sufferings and adopt measures to shelter and protect them until people represented government is established in Burma.

Sources:

• The Muslim “Rohingya’’ of Burma by Martin Smith,

• A short History of Arakan by Mohd Ashraf Alam,

• Human Rights Abuses and Discrimination on Rohingyas by Zaw Min Htut.

• Kaladanpress Net work and Narinjara News.


--------------------------------------------------
Nurul Islam,
E-mail: wisdom_peace@ymail.com



 



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