By Ravi Nitesh:
“When the tears came out from his eyes and when his throat became choked, I just saw the smile on the face of his daughter who was unknown to feelings of her father because she was new to this cruel world while I know that very soon she will be familiar with all these tears and will lose her smile just because she will be able to understand that there are man made boundaries in this world, humans identified by castes and religions and desires and freedom always comes under government policies.”
Recently, when the world was looking (and was happy) on the progress of democratic powers in Myanmar (a country that bridges South Asia and South East Asia), New Delhi witnessed hundreds of Rohingyas gathered at one place.
Some of the members of our organization along with other human rights activists and organizations visited them. We saw that how they were ready to stay in difficult conditions in New Delhi simply with a hope for a better and safe future.
We came to know that these people belong to the community of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar. They told us that members of their community have migrated from Myanmar through Bangladesh to India from time to time. The reason was obvious: security and happiness. Some also migrated to other countries and many members of their community are living in Bangladesh and Thailand too.
They narrated horrible stories of their days in Myanmar; they narrated their dangerous decision of migration and how it happened, they narrated about problems they faced during their illegal migration and how they escaped the notice of security personnel at international borders.
Asked about their days in Myanmar and the reasons behind their migration, they described how they were not allowed to marry freely, with the government wanting to prevent the growth of their population, they were denied citizenship and were not allowed to move freely at all places. They were continuously facing threats from the government-supported agencies and the majority communities. They described to us how due to various mistakes of all sides, violence occurred many times.
In fact, this Muslim community has not received the self respect, security and dignity and they started migrating from their place. Now, in India, they reached as illegal immigrants and went to various Indian states. They are living here for many years. They work as casual labourers, vegetable sellers, etc. and thus earn very low income.
At the time when Myanmar started giving shape to democratic reforms, the Rohingyas gathered in New Delhi to showcase their condition and to attract focus to their problems. Though India as a country provided them temporary stay, they didn’t receive any citizenship, neither were they granted refugee status. Here with our delegation visit, (that includes members of Mission Bhartiyam, NCHRO and Khudai Khidmatgar), we felt that religion should not be a tool of discrimination, instead religion should be respected by all governments. People who went to visit these migrated Rohingyas were not visiting with any religious tag in mind, instead they all went there just for a cause of humanity and many people came in support for their security and better living. They also provided some sort of economical help and groceries.
We were shocked to see the children who were being denied basic education in the 21st century, we were unhappy to see that religion can make men so rude that they can act with cruelty on God’s creation (upon other humans), we became intrigued to know that political forces are so mean that they only want to ensure their continuity in power and we also believe that probably men in uniforms cannot succeed in politics with the motive of development with happiness until they will start believing in non violence, politeness, democratic values and humanity.
The recent violence in Myanmar once again puts the focus on the ethnic violence there and an urgent need to settle the dispute. It is time that the Myanmar government should take initiative to protect the interest of its people by providing additional benefits and opportunities to its minority Rohingya Muslims. The government should also start providing facilities to encourage communication among various communities. In addition to the government, there are people who can take the challenge in their hands; the challenge to start considering everyone just as a human being, the challenge to start arrangements for foresighted development of all communities, the challenge to start loving each other, the challenge to live peacefully.
In spite of the militarized environment, we should believe that the people’s wish can take breath there. If it all happens and a safe environment is built there for all, then Rohingyas may return to their parent country and in this way, Myanmar has every capability to present an example to this world.
(Based on experience during delegation visit to Rohingyas camp at New Delhi. Delegation includes members Sulabh Srivastava from Mission Bhartiyam, Md. Tanveer from NCHRO & Maulana Fateh Nadvi from Khudai Khidmatgar)