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Background of Rohingya Problem

Background of Rohingya Problem

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Published by sandrakaung2430
During the colonial period Chittagonian Muslims or Bengalis came to the land of Rakhaing freely to get employed in the developing cultivation there, which was part of the then British economic policy. In Sittwe (Akyab), for instance, from a few hundred inhabitants the population had steadily increased and even within the last decade of the 19th century the growth had been continuous as the census figures plainly show:
Year Population
1872 1,923
1881 3,398
1891 3,7,93
1901 9,114
During the colonial period Chittagonian Muslims or Bengalis came to the land of Rakhaing freely to get employed in the developing cultivation there, which was part of the then British economic policy. In Sittwe (Akyab), for instance, from a few hundred inhabitants the population had steadily increased and even within the last decade of the 19th century the growth had been continuous as the census figures plainly show:
Year Population
1872 1,923
1881 3,398
1891 3,7,93
1901 9,114

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Published by: sandrakaung2430 on Feb 23, 2009
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06/28/2009

 
Background of Rohingya ProblemKyaw Zan Tha, MA12/28/2008 
Early Muslims in the Kingdom of Rakhaing (Arakan)
The territory, controlled by the Mrauk-U dynasty (1433-1785), the last dynasty in Rakhaing(Arakanese) history, stretched from Chittagong in the North to Thanlyin (Syriam) in the Southuntil it lost the whole of Chittagong down to the River Naaf (Nat River) to Mughal in 1666.1Some Chittagonian Muslims however remained settled in the Kingdom of Rakhaing (Arakan).These were the earliest Muslim settlers in the Kingdom of Rakhaing and known as the Kamans.
Muslim Immigration during Colonial period
During the colonial period Chittagonian Muslims or Bengalis came to the land of Rakhaingfreely to get employed in the developing cultivation there, which was part of the then Britisheconomic policy. In Sittwe (Akyab), for instance, from a few hundred inhabitants the populationhad steadily increased and even within the last decade of the 19th century the growth had beencontinuous as the census figures plainly show:
Year Population
18721,92318813,39818913,7,9319019,114 No importance is to be attached to the slight falling-off shown at the last census, which isattributable to an unwanted paucity of coolies from outside at the close of the busy season inApril or May. The population is mixed one, Rakhaing of whom there are 11,531 predominatingover any other race in terms of numbers. Bamars (Burmese), Chinese, and natives of India,mainly Bengalis from the Chittagong coast, total 18,328.2According to a Health Ministry's report for the year 1930-31, about 40,000 Bengali coolies cameinto the land of Rakhaing and some of them did not return to their homes. The British authorities, being aware of the potential problems between the Rakhaing and the Bengali Muslims, formed aspecial Investigation Commission in 1939 to study the issue of Muslim immigration into land of Rakhaing with Commissioner (Mr. James Ester) as Chairman and U Tin Htut and Yangon(Rangoon) University Professor Desai as members.The Commission showed its concern and suggested to restrict the immigration of Bengalis to theextent necessary for cultivation. Their suggestion however did not materialize due to theoutbreak of the Second World War.
WARTIME RAKHAING- INDIAN RIOT
When the British retreated from Burma during the war they were said to have left some of their weapons behind with the Indians. Some Burmese nationalists considered this as an act of Britishdivide and rule policy. The armed Indians, mostly hosts and thus riots began.
 
The most severe incidents took place in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships and about 20,000Rakhaing including Deputy Commissioner U Kyaw Khaing, an I.C.S. were killed.There were more than 200 Rakhaing villages in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships before thewar. During the wartime riot most of the Rakhaing inhabitants left their homes due to Muslimthreat and after the war only about 60 villages were resettled by the Rakhaing, and the remainingvillages were occupied by the Bengalis and some of these villages had the growth of populationup to one or two hundred thousand Bengali Muslims.Because of this the Bengali Muslims were very much encouraged and entered the land of Rakhaing by all means and thus posed a great problem to the inexperienced government of thenewly independent Burma.
BENGALI MUSLIMS KINDLED WITH POLITICS
When they first settled in the land of Rakhaing, the Bengalis lived quite simply without creatingany trouble. However post war Muslim League's movement in the Indian Continent inspiredthem with Muslim unity and when the Indian Muslims demanded the establishment of a separatestate (Pakistan), these Bengali Muslims in the land of Rakhaing also started to call as early as in1942, for the merger of the Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships with Pakistan.Some members of the "Jame-a-tul-Ulema-e Islam" religious association went to Karachi on adelegation to discuss the incorporation of Buthidaung, Maungdaw and also Rathedaungtownships into Pakistan.3The late U San Tun Aung, an AFPFL leader of Buthidaung, referring to his colleague MP. Mr.Abdul Khai, says in his memoir4 that upon the reimposition of their rule the British inspired theMuslims in the area to demand a separate Muslim state.
RAKHAING STATE AND THE MUJAHIDS
Together with the Burma independence, there emerged a large variety of insurgents such as RedFlag Communists, White Flag Communists, White Comrade (PVO), etc.. Educated Rakhaingwere not then satisfied with the AFPFL Government's policy because they had no self-determination as they had hoped whereas some other nationalities such as Shans, Kachins andKarens had at least a state of their own.As the cry for Rakhaing Statehood became very loud the Bengali Muslims in the land of Rakhaing tried to take advantage out of the situation and said that if the AFPFL Governmentgranted statehood for the Rakhaing they would be at Rakhaing mercy. Then they started todemand a separate state for themselves too and threatened to wage an armed uprising unless their demand was met.The AFPFL Government turned down both the Rakhaing demand and the Bengali Muslims'demand. In response to this denial Rakhaing withdrew their support for AFPFL and voted for theArakan National Union Organization (ANUO) in the elections; and the Bengali Muslimslaunched the armed uprising under the name of Mujahids.As a gesture of appeasement to the Mujahids, AFPFL Government allowed the above groundBengali Muslim leaders to stand for the elections from the Buthidaung and Maungdawconstituencies. Four Bengali Muslims namely, Mr. Abdul Gafar, Mr. Sulton Mohamad, Mr. AbulKhai and Mr. Abu Bawshaw became MPs while their Rakhaing rivals U San Tun Aung (thememoir writer) and Lawyer U Po Khaing (who did not speak Chittagonian dialect though aMuslim himself) lost the elections.
 
Meanwhile the Mujahids continued fighting, hoisting the Pakistani Flag and shouting "PakistanZindabhad" (Long-live Pakistan). In June 1951 they held a Conference in Alethangyaw inMaungdaw Township and issued a "Charter of Demand of Rakhaing Muslims" asking for aseparate Muslim State in northern Rakhaing State and equal rights with the Rakhaing.Among the postwar re-established 60 Rakhaing villages the Mujahids raided 44, setting thehouses on fire, looting the monasteries and villagers, killing the Rakhaing and raping the women.The action taken by the Government against the Mujahids was at first very lenient. This leniencycaused great anger among the Rakhaing. The Rakhaing university students mocked the thenPrime Minister U Nu by a cartoon in the Rakhaing Tazaung Magazine.The AFPFL Government later sent the Burma Territorial Force (BTF) headed by major ThaKyaw to fight the Mujahids. Then Major Tha Kyaw and his troops had to be transferred from the border and replaced by troops headed by Major Htin Kyaw. The Mujahids including their leader Kasim fled to the East Pakistan and their movement came to an end in 1959 while General NeWin's caretaker government was running the country.
RENEWED MOVEMENT UNDER NEW NAME "ROHINGYA"
During his campaign for the 1960 elections U Nu promised to grant statehood to the Rakhaingand to the Mons respectively. When he again became Prime Minister the movements for theformation of Rakhaing State and Mon State came into life. Meanwhile Bengali Muslim leadersstarted an anti-Rakhaing State movement and asked for the same status as the Rakhaing.When their demands were turned down on the grounds that they were not an indigenous race,some educated Bengali Muslims began to put forward evidence (of doubtful historical value) inan attempt to prove that they were indigenous Rakhaing Muslims. Some stories presented bytheir "historians" are ridiculous. For example they say that their Arab ancestors became settled inthe Kingdom of Rakhaing after a shipwreck near the Rambre (Ramree) Island off the kingdom oRakhaing coast in the eighth century.5The period 8th century was the period of Dannyawady Dynasty in Rakhaing history and the oldcity site can still be seen near Kyauktaw together with its stone monuments of Buddhismincluding some Buddha images and inscriptions of Buddhist scriptures. This was the city fromwhere the great Mahamuni Buddha Image was taken in 1784 by King Bodawpaya to Mandalay.There may well have been contacts between the Arab world and the Kingdom of Rakhaing butthere is no evidence of Arabic culture or Islamic faith there suggesting few people settled. Theonly non-Buddhist evidence found for the 7th and 8th centuries in that area was Hindu. Beforethe emergence of indigenous culture in South-East Asia, the area was mainly under the influenceof Indian civilization. That is why some scholars call this area "Father India" and the City Statesthere "Indianized States". However, unfortunately, some Muslims with strong religious and racial prejudice attempt to misinterpret them as Islamic States instead of Hindu ones.Another claim of these "historians" is that Rakhaing Kings of Mrauk-U Dynasty in the 15thcentury were Muslims. This statement is based on the fact that few Rakhaing Kings of earlyMrauk-U Dynasty had Muslim titles side by side with their own Rakhaing ones. Of course theydid so, but the only possible reason for this was to show their lordship over their Muslim subjectsresiding, in Chittagong area, which was under Rakhaing rule until 1666 A.D.If these kings were Muslims they would surely not have built Buddhist pagodas. However thereare so many Buddhist pagodas, in and around Mrauk-U, which were built by these kings. Theconstruction of the Buddha Image is diametrically opposite from the Islam faith. Therefore it is

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