By Mihika Jindal:
It aches my heart to read about the ongoing brutality and a nightmare that has lasted 2 complete years. What are the odds that the victims of this huge massacre in Burma will find solace in the near future, especially when the state government seems to have chosen to side with the oppressors? The continued saga makes me believe the chances are nil.
Burma is predominantly a Buddhist state with an Ethnic Muslim Minority Group — Rohingya — residing in Rakhine State in Western Burma, bordering with Bangladesh. Burma, since 2012, has showcased high levels of intolerance towards Rohingyas, making it exceedingly difficult and almost impossible for them to co-exist. What started as a massacre in 2012 continues till date with situation only worsening by the day! Dangerous sequence of events has led to the displacement of around 200,000 Rohingyas, most of who are living in pitiable conditions as refugees in rescue camps set up in border areas with Bangladesh.
The story that is being narrated in Burma is shocking and nerve stirring beyond words. There are over 1 million Rohingyas who have been residing in Burma since age-old times and despite their ancient and continuous existence, they are being denied the citizenship of Burma in light of the Citizenship Law of 1982. Burma, in its wake of turning into a democracy after all these years of existence, is not doing any justice to the word and concept of Democracy. As reported in The Washington Post, Thein Sein, the Burmese President, clearly denies Rohingya their status as an Ethnic Group and calls them ‘Bengalis’ instead. Such a tagging openly reeks of discriminatory undertone clearly implying illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which in the present case contributes to the unrest in the nation and victimisation of Rohingyas.
The horrid events that are being witnessed since 2012 have been gruesome and mighty shameful for the Burmese Government. A UN report confirmed that horrific murders and slaughters have taken place, in light of which it directed the Burmese Government to set up an independent investigation agency to look into the matter and take immediate measures to stop these acts of violence against the minorities in Rakhine state. What reportedly happened next left me, as a reader and as a human being, in a state of dismay and hopelessness. The Burmese Government looked down upon the direction of the UN and refused to carry out an independent investigation. Further, to cover up for the act, they conducted a shoddy investigation by private persons which presented a false report that did not speak of any massacre and the guilty along with the perpetrators walked away scot-free.
The government is clearly veiling the heinous acts that are taking place in Rakhine state where culprits of numerous murders, slaughters, rapes, tortures et all are going unpunished and Muslims are finding themselves stuck in the vicious circle becoming victims of a humanitarian crisis.
The story doesn’t end here. Like inflicting crime was not enough, the Burmese government also withdrew the services of MSF (Medicins Sans Frontieres) — a sole medical group catering to 750,000 people of Rakhine, majority of who are Rohingyas. Since the time MSF has been expelled (February, 2014), the deaths and number of patientsÂ in the affected region has increased manifold, creating miserable conditions for the people there to live, forget live peacefully!
Rohingyas have fled to Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Refugees have become victims of sexual assaults and violence, human bodies are being bought and sold, they are being used for drug dealing and peddling, and the list is never ending. The story of massacres and killing in name of race and religion is a common concept across globe, but the story of Rohingyas is different for they are being trampled over with no hope whatsoever. For about 2 years, they have been facing atrocities at the hands of Buddhist native groups where the government is an accomplice. The riots and killing that are happening in Burma in the name of ethnic cleansing are nothing but a glaring example of genocide. It is probably time for the international community to take serious action to save lives of fellow humans. Take an action like we mean it and possibly hope for some respite.