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Sector 2

Sector 2

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Published by taisamyone

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Published by: taisamyone on Jul 22, 2012
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07/22/2012

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Sectarian Problem
Killing two birds with a stone or a Win, Win Situation
 
Kanbawza Win
As an ethnic survivor of the 7th July massacre, I was rather sad and confused atthe success of hardliners of the quasi civilian government in orchestrating andimpleme
nting their policy of
 Let the minority fights the minority
,” in Western Burma.
 They have successfully revitalize the importance of military and that in time of crisis onlythe military is reliable and guarantor of the country and that the pro democracymovement led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi cannot do anything in times like this, has beendriven home.Even though she was treated like a rising Hollywood star, the darling of themedia, capturing headlines at every turn, charming the world with her quiet wisdom, andmotivating people to be of interest in Burma, the
Tatmadaw
(Burmese army) have try totarnish her image not only by revealing her lawsuit with her brother but also insisting intheir vain attempt to prove, that dictators can change the name of the country and thenational flag without the consensus of the people.The
Tatmadaw
is still control by the evil genius, Than Shwe
via
the hard liners,have deliberately fomented violence not only to place Daw Suu in an awkward positionbut also to lure the Arakanese (Rakhine) to their side by highlighting the theory of someeducated Mujahids and Bengali Intellectuals based in Europe to create a new race call
 Rohingya
in 1950s. The
Tatmadaw
has skillfully and successfully exploited thissituation, to create a recent frenzy, to undermine everything that the global leaders, themedia and everyday citizens of the world to construe that Burma has changed in the blink of an eye.
History of the Bengali Immigrants
When the British occupied Arakan in the 18
th
century, the area was scarcelypopulated, while there was a plenty of place for high-yield paddy fields in the fertileKaladan and Lemro River Valleys.
1
So the British policy was to encourage the Bengaliinhabitants from the adjacent areas to migrate into these fertile valleys of Arakan asagriculturalists. The British East India Company extended the administration of Bengal toArakan as, there was no international boundary between the two countries and norestriction was imposed on the emigration.At first, most of them came as seasonal agricultural laborers and went home afterthe harvest was done. R. B. Smart estimated the number at about twenty-five thousandduring the crop-reaping season alone.
2
This is also because the colonial administration of India regarded the Bengalis as amenable subjects, while finding the indigenousArakanese too defiant, rising in rebellion twice in 1830s. The flow of Chittagonian labor
1
See
Charney 1999: 279
.
 
2
 
Smart 1957: 99
 
 
provided the main impetus to the economic development in Arakan and within a fewdecades along with the opening of regular commercial shipping lines between Chittagongand Akyab became an economic success. The arable land expanded to four and a half times between 1830 and 1852 and Akyab, became one of the major rice exporting citiesin the world. Indeed, during a century of colonial rule, the Chittagonian immigrantsbecame the numerically dominant ethnic group in the Mayu Frontier. That is the origin of the
 Mujahid 
or the Bengali Immigrants.The crucial aspect of these
 Mujahid 
is that in the period of the independencemovement in Burma in 1920s and 1930s the Muslims from the Mayu Frontier were moreconcerned with the progress of Muslim League in India. This clearly proved that theirmentality is not with the Union of Burma but rather with the Muslims of India and fromthis thesis alone they did not qualify in the ethnic nationalities of the Union of Burma.But the most important point in their history with Burma is that before the beginning of the Second World War a political party, Jami-a-tul Ulema-e Islam was founded under theguidance of the Islamic scholars. Islam became the ideological basis of the party.
3
 During the early post-war years both Arakanese and Bengali Muslims in the MayuFrontier looked at each other with distrust. Relations between the Muslim
 Mujahid 
andthe Arakanese have historically been tense. The ethnic violence between ArakaneseBuddhists and those Muslim Chittagonians brought a great deal of bloodshed to Arakanduring the World War II and after 1948, in the opening decade of independent Burma.As the British Labor Government promised independence for Burma, someMuslims were haunted by the specter of their future living under the infidel rule in theplace where the baneful Arakanese are also living. In 1946 a delegation was sent by theJami-atul Ulema-e Islam to Ali Jina in Karachi (founder of Pakistan) to discuss with theleaders of the Muslim League, the possibility of incorporation of Buthidaung, Maungdawand Ratheedaung townships into the then East Pakistan now Bangladesh.
This alsoclearly proved that the Mujahid/Rohingya have no inclination to be in the Union of Burma and is not one of the ethnic tribes of the Union.
When Burma becameindependent in 1948, the
 Mujahid 
engaged in armed attacks in an unsuccessful effort tohave the northern part of the state join East Pakistan.
4
But the British ignored theirproposal to detach the frontier area to award it to Pakistan.The failure of their attempts ended in an armed revolt, with some Muslims,declaring a holy war Jihard on the young new Republic of the Union of Burma. Aguerrilla army of 2700 fighters was organized.
5
But in the long run they could not matchthe Arakanese and the Burmese army and in 1950s Prime Minister U Nu declares that if his party win he would grants them a concession and recognize them as an indigenousgroup so that the Immigrants voted for him but soon they lost their political andconstitutional identity when the military coup came in 1962. The first Military
3
 
Khin Gyi ;Pyaw Records of the Arakanese Ppeople 1960: 99
 
4
 
See REB45X = 4
 
5
 
Khin Gyi ;Pyaw 1960: 99;
TheNation Daily 
 
1953: April16
 
government of General Ne Win promulgated the Citizenship Act of Burma in 1982. Thiseffectively denied the
 Mujahid 
recognition of their status as an ethnic minority group. Asa sign of peaceful disobedience these
 Mujahids
deliberately refuse to speak any Burmeseor Arakanese language. The conclusion is that both the ethno-democratic forcescomposed of other ethnic nationalities and the Junta forces refuse to recognize them.
6
The
word “
Rohingya
” came into use in the 1950s by the educated Bengali residents
whowere the second or third generations of the Bengali immigrants from the ChittagongDistrict in modern Bangladesh; this is to differentiate them from the existing Muslimcommunities inside Arakan, who are living peacefully with their Arakanese Buddhistbrethren even before the state was absorbed into British India. Most of the pooruneducated
 Mujahid 
farmers, who faced the brunt of the ethnic cleansing policy of theJunta scarcely even knows that he was called a
 Rohingya.
 In the past three decades, there have been significant migrations, forced andvoluntary, of 
 Mujahid 
to neighboring Bangladesh. In 1977, in response to the militarygovernment's attempt to identify illegal immigrants, some 200,000 group memberssought refuge in Bangladesh. While most of them subsequently returned, in 1981-82there was another exodus as Rangoon implemented a new citizenship law that requiredresidents to prove that they have lived in the country since 1824. In the mid to late 1990s,further migrations to Bangladesh occurred, many of which were reportedly due toforcible expulsions by the Junta. From a high of 250,000
 Mujahid 
s in Bangladeshirefugee camps in the early 1990s, there were some 20,000 left by the end of 2000 afterthe rest had returned to Burma. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has financiallysupported the camps.The
 Mujahid 
faced many demographic stresses such as deteriorating public healthconditions, declining caloric intake, dispossession from their land, and internalresettlement as a result of government policies. During the 1998-2000 periods, thousandsof villagers were evicted in order to transform their rice fields into poppy plantations.Further, some of the land that belonged to Mujahidin Bangladeshi refugee camps wasturned over to the local Arakanese.At the time of this writing, about one million
 Mujahid 
live in the north westernparts of Burma, near the Bangladesh border. Hundreds of thousands of 
 Mujahid 
arecurrently living in neighbouring Bangladesh, where they are unwanted refugees.
 Mujahid 
 women like any other ethnic race in Burma are frequently subject to sexual abuse andrape by
Tatmadaw
 
soldiers. Reportedly, Burma’s military continues to commit atrocities
against the civilian population. As such, desperate
 Mujahids
pour across t he borders intoBangladesh every year.As far as Bangladesh is concerned is that after providing shelter to the
 Mujahid 
 for nearly three decades, it is now concerned about the annual increase in their numbers.Apart from being an economic burden, the
 Mujahid 
involvement in insurgent activitiesalong the Burma-Bangladesh border is feared by the government. Hence to reduce the
6
This is the only respect where both the Junta and the opposition forces agreed on. The Ethnic forces have asked theRohingyas to work with the Arakanese opposition forces in order to recognize their identity and the latter refused.

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