The world is appalled. All civilized nations have condemned it. The Burmese (aka Mayanmar) authorities are on a rampage and have been on a rampage. The Muslims have been stripped of their citizenship and have no rights as human being.
The kingdom of Mrohaung used to own vast territories which included Chittagong. The kingdom came into conflict with the Mughals during the reign of Aurenzeb. It did survive the attacks, and continued to be independent for much longer. The British in all their wisdom did not give Mrohaung its independence when they left Burma.
As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar. Burma occupied the Muslim kingdom of Arakan on December 31st, 1784. Following the Burmese conquest of Arakan in 1785, as many as 35,000 Arakanese people fled to the neighbouring Chittagong region of British Bengal in 1799 to avoid Burmese persecution and seek protection from British India.
The Human Rights Watch urged the government of Myanmar to take immediate steps to stop violence against the Rohingya Muslim population in the Arakan State of western Myanmar.
The stateless Rohingya,have long been considered by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities on the planet.
Aung San Suu Kyi is silent.
The United Nations on Friday warned that the hostilities could jeopardise the country’s widely-praised reforms, which include the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.
- The United Nations earlier said 3,200 had made their way towards shelters in Sittwe, with a further several thousand on the way.
Residents of one camp in a coastal area on the outskirts of Sittwe said they could see boatloads of Rohingya on the shore.
- “The security forces are not allowing them to come in. Some people are on the shore and some are still on their boats.”
- He added the group of several thousand people, including women and children, was believed to be from just two towns.
Burma’s president Thein Sein’s has admitted an unprecedented wave of ethnic violence has targeted his country’s Rohingya Muslim population, destroying whole villages and large parts of towns.
The attacks in Arakan province in the country’s west – also known as Rakhine – appears to have been part of a wave of communal violence pitting Arakan Buddhists against Muslims .
New satellite imagery shows extensive destruction of homes and other property in a predominantly Rohingya Muslim area of the coastal town of Kyauk Pyu – the epi-center of widespread new violence and displacement.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the darling of the West is silent.
- The Rohingya, are under “vicious attack”. Rangoon must ensure protection for the affected Muslim and Buddhist communities in the region.
- A total of 811 destroyed building structures can be identified from the images of the eastern edge of Kyauk Pyu city – a Rohingya area. The destruction was caused by arson attacks occurring October 24.
- The victims were mostly Muslim Rohingyas.
- “Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse,” said Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director.
“Burma’s government urgently needs to provide security for the Rohingya in Arakan state, who are under vicious attack,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse.”
Myanmar State television had reported Friday night that 67 people had died, 95 been injured and 2,818 houses were burned down from Sunday through Thursday in seven of the state’s townships. Human Rights Watch said that the true death toll is higher than that officially reported, based on witnesses’ accounts and a history of government undercounting in cases that might reflect badly on it.
Why doesn’t Aung San Suu Kyi speak up?
Muslim settlements have existed in Arakan since the arrival of Arabs there in the 8th century CE. The direct descendants of Arab settlers are believed to live in central Arakan near Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw townships, rather than the Mayu frontier area, the present day area where a majority of Rohingya are populated, near Chittagong Division, Bangladesh.
According to Charles Kimball In the 14th century Arakan was a pawn that frequently changed hands in the struggles between Ava and Pegu. Things began to look up, however, when King Narameikhla (1404-34), aided by the sultan of Bengal, recovered his throne from a pro-Burmese usurper. At the end of his reign he built a splendid new capital, Mrohaung, and Arakan’s golden age began.
Kimbal says that “Relations with the Mogul Empire went from bad to worse as the 17th century progressed. The first Mogul attack retook Dacca, but the invading fleet was smashed before it could get out of the Ganges delta (1629). In 1660 a Mogul prince, Shah Shuja, fled to Mrohaung when he failed to keep his brother, Aurangzeb, from usurping the Mogul throne. Shah Shuja asked for ships to convey his family and retinue to Mecca, but none were supplied. Then the Arakanese king, Sandathudamma, asked for one of Shah Shuja’s daughters in marriage and was indignantly refused. Fearing he would be handed over to the Moguls, Shah Shuja tried to escape; on the second attempt he was killed in a riot and his treasures were confiscated.”
Kimbal futher adds that “When Aurangzeb heard the news, he demanded the surrender of Shah Shuja’s children; Sandathudamma refused and war broke out. At first the war went well for Arakan, with the Feringhi making two devastating raids on the Bengal coast. But at a crucial moment they quarreled with the Arakanese, and when the Moguls offered employment most of the Feringhi switched sides. The result was an overwhelming Mogul victory at the battle of Dianga (1666), where the Arakanese fleet was destroyed and Chittagong (held by Arakan since 1459) was taken back.”
Early evidence of Bengali Muslim settlements in Arakan date back to the time of King Narameikhla (1430–1434) of the Kingdom of Mrauk U. After 24 years of exile in Bengal, he regained control of the Arakanese throne in 1430 with military assistance from the Sultanate of Bengal. The Bengalis who came with him formed their own settlements in the region.
Following the Burmese conquest of Arakan in 1785, as many as 35,000 Arakanese people fled to the neighbouring Chittagong region of British Bengal in 1799 to avoid Burmese persecution and seek protection from British India.
Rohingya scholars have successfully written the Rohingya language in various scripts including Arabic, Hanifi, Urdu, Roman, and Burmese, where Hanifi is a newly developed alphabet derived from Arabic with the addition of four characters from Latin and Burmese.
British Francis Buchanan-Hamilton in his 1799 article “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire,” Buchanan-Hamilton stated: “I shall now add three dialects, spoken in the Burma Empire, but evidently derived from the language of the Hindu nation. The first is that spoken by the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.
MA Chowdhury a historian says that among the Muslim populations in Myanmar, the term ‘Mrohaung’ (Old Arakanese Kingdom) was corrupted to Rohang. And thus inhabitants of the region are called Rohingya.
Amnesty International also issued a separate statement calling for more government action to protect lives.
“These latest incidents between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhists demonstrate how urgent it is that the authorities intervene to protect everyone, and break the cycle of discrimination and violence,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy director, Isabelle Arradon, said in a statement.
In June, ethnic violence in Rakhine killed at least 90 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes. About 75,000 have been living in refugee camps ever since. Curfews have been in place in some areas since the earlier violence and were extended in scope this past week.
The unrest in Rakhine state has caused a fresh exodus of people fleeing for safety from Rohingya minority areas.
Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t say anything!
- Tens of thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingya are already crammed into squalid camps around the state capital Sittwe after deadly violence in June. Rakhine state officials said the latest bloodshed had caused an influx of boats carrying around 6,000 people to the city.
- “The local government is planning to relocate them to a suitable place. We are having problems because more people are coming,” said Rakhine government spokesman Hla Thein. Some of the displaced are still on boats while several thousand have docked on an island opposite Sittwe.
- Chris Lewa, head of the Arakan Project, which campaigns for Rohingya rights, said the recent spate of clashes were “far deadlier” than the June unrest.
- “Rakhine State has now spiraled into complete lawlessness,” she told news agency AFP on Saturday. “Violence is spreading to the south and east with the clear purpose of expelling all Muslims, not just Rohingya.”