Rohingya Muslims has Nowhere to Go :

Rohingya Muslims has Nowhere to Go :

Context

The Myanmar army has again gone on rampage in the Rakhine State which has rendered thousands of stateless Rohingya Muslims in a state where they have nowhere to go.

What are the atrocities faced by the Rohingya Muslims?

  • The majoritarian view of Myanmar holds that Rohingya Muslims are not citizens of Myanmar
  • Rohingya Muslims’ rights are severely curtailed in Myanmar –

o   they can’t practice their religion (Islam) freely,

o   cannot meet in large gatherings,

o   face discrimination when they look for work,

o   there are restrictions on the number of children they can have,

o   they are not included in the census, and

o   they do not have voting rights.

Why is Myanmar Army hostile towards Rohingya Muslims?

  • The army’s antagonism towards Rohingyas dates back at least to World War II.
  • During WWII, the Burmese army under General Aung San had initially sided with the Japanese (before switching to the British towards the end of the war), while many Muslims supported the British
  • The Japanese had expelled Rohingyas to northern Arakan (as Rakhine was known then), which was under British control.
  • At Burma’s independence from the British in 1948, Arakanese Muslims wanted to join East Pakistan, but Mohammed Ali Jinnah refused.
  • Since the late 1970s, Myanmar’s army has frequently attacked Rohingyas, forcing many to make a hazardous journey through the narrow Naf river and reach south-eastern Bangladesh, where they settle in ramshackle tents in sprawling camps like Kutupalong.

What are the implications of the ongoing violence in the Rakhine State?

  • Rakhine forms the frontier between Muslim and Buddhist Asia, so violence there has wider implications
  • Indonesia’s second largest Muslim group, Muhammadiya, has called for Myanmar’s expulsion from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
  • Other Asean countries—including southern Thailand and parts of the Philippines—have long-running insurgencies involving Muslim groups
  • Thus, continued oppression of Rohingya Muslims can ignite the region.

Did India take any stand on this issue?

  • Indian Home Ministry has advised to states to detect and deport Rohingya Muslims, thus taking a harsh and inhuman attitude towards the refugees.
  • The National Human Rights Commission has cautioned the government, saying that even if the refugees are not citizens, the government should consider that they might face persecution if they are pushed back.
  • The stand of the Home Ministry is facing a challenge and Supreme Court will hear to it.

Is India bound to host the refugees?

  • India has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention
  • But it has abided by its spirit, and generously hosted refugees from Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan over the years.
  • In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that refugees have certain rights, including the right to life and liberty
  • In 2015, asked the Centre to extend citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees from Bangladesh.

What India should do ?

  • Technically, India is not bound to give shelter to the Rohingya Muslims.
  • But Indian law, India’s practice of abiding by international expectations, long tradition of compassion, and humanitarian impulse, all suggest that India should let the Rohingyas remain.
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