Rohingya is a community of Muslims living in western Burma (Myanmar) majorly in Rakhine state. It is the violence in that area that is causing an exodus of almost half a million of Muslim refugees into surrounding countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and India. It is a point of increasing tension. Politicians across the globe are raising concerns regarding this serious issue. One of the reason could be Myanmar being a Buddhist majority country, Muslims there are feeling like stateless. While the Muslims across these countries are adopting a supporting angle for these refugees but on the other hand it is becoming a point of serious concern for these countries for political reasons. Some important points to draw attention are Suu Kyi facing criticism over her response to this criris.
Vocal rallies are happening in surrounding countries in support of Rohingya refugees. United Nations is seeking a solution to this issue by directing Myanmar to provide Muslims legal status. In fact, one militant group al-Qaeda has come forward in support of the refugees. In their latest release they are urging Muslims in the surrounding countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Malaysia to provide blanket support refugees in all possible ways. This inclues financial and physical assistance. It is important to understand what Michael Vatikiotis, author of Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia is trying to resonate. He is also Asia Regional Director for Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Rohingya issue was like a sleeping volcano
Michael Vatikiotis says, “The regional security implications of the Rakhine State crisis stem primarily from the risks of sectarian conflict as Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, accounting for almost half the region’s population, grow increasingly angry over the treatment of Muslim Rohingya by Buddhist Rakhine.” Continuing on the issue he further adds, “This sentiment is easily exploited by local political actors in Indonesia and Malaysia, where the rise of identity politics has increased the risk of religious conflict. With over 370,000 recent arrivals in Bangladesh, where access to aid and shelter is challenging, many Rohingya may start to leave on boats and arrive on the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.”
Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs in his latest statement says the government is planning to deport around 40,000 Rohingya from India. In his tweet on Wednesday he interprets this issue undermining India’s security. Constantino Xavier, Fellow, Carnegie India says, “India’s airlift of humanitarian assistance to Chittagong today shows India’s increasing willingness and capacity to act as a first responder to emergencies in the region.”
Who is sponsoring Rohingya militants
The origin of whole issue is an attack on 25 August by a Rohingya insurgent group. The name of this group is Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The result of this attack was killing of more than a dozen security personnel. Soon after that incident, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina creates around thousands of acres of space. This space or land is to establish camps for accommodating refugees. The volume of these refugess is as large as 400,000 who are currently residing near the southern border with Myanmar. There is a straight fight happening between Myanmar’s army and Rohingya militants. There is a report of more than 500 casualities of militants so far.
This is now causing a huge conflict beteen Myanmar and Bangladesh. That in turn is causing turbulence in Southeast Asia. In fact, there have been explosions near the Myanmar Bangladesh border. António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations, states the situation as very serious. As a matter of fact, Rohingya is not a new issue in Myanmar. It was like a sleeping volcano that has come to the verge of eruption now. Thus causing a stir around the world. For years, there have been incidents of mass murder of Rohingya in Myanmar.
With more than 50 million population of Myanmar, almost a million of Rohingya are treated as illegal migrants. In fact, these migrants are from what is now Bangladesh. That is the reason that these one-million Muslims in Rakhine forming the largest community in the world having no citizenship.