52 10 mins 4 mths

The Rohingya crisis is mind-boggling. It isn’t only a battle among Muslims and Buddhists as individuals would say it is, basically. It is a battle about ethnicity, religion and fundamental basic freedoms. Throughout the most recent couple of years, this emergency appears to have raised and turn out to be more savage. In the event that you’ve perused the paper or even watched the news on TV, you probably saw the conditions that the Rohingya outcasts at the boundary of Bangladesh and Myanmar persevere. Consuming houses, pointless murdering of blameless people, hunger and aloof day to day environments are a couple of things that come into our brain when we think about this emergency. What caused the present circumstance in any case? For what reason do the Rohingyas battle for an ethnicity? How about we discover?


Geographical location of Myanmar and the Rakhine state

The Rohingyas are Indo-Aryan minority group who dominatingly got comfortable the Rakhine state, arranged in the western side of current Myanmar, lining Bangladesh. Their foundations can be followed back to more than 1000 years when Arab brokers used to come to Myanmar to exchange and many wound up getting comfortable in Myanmar. Nonetheless, the Rohingyas don’t have solid verification of this proof. Be that as it may, as indicated by the Burmese (fun reality: People from Myanmar are called Burmese, not Myanmarian or with some other extravagant name), Rohingyas are unlawful workers from Bangladesh and inundation of outsiders will make more harm the country. Rohingyas are transcendently Muslims, be that as it may, not all Rohingyas follow Islam.


Rohingyas expelled from Myanmar
Rohingyas forced to leave Myanmar along the border with Bangladesh

The reason for expelling the Rohingya is long. It dates back to several centuries when several empires ruled over a particular country or a region. The Rakhine region, inhabited by the Rohingyas, was subjected to many empires, most of which were Buddhist and Hindu. Later, the British took over Burma. During the British rule, a lot of people started moving within the British borders in the subcontinent. This caused a relative diaspora. Things started getting messy during the Second World war.

The Rohingyas, predominantly Muslims, backed the British. The Burmese, mostly Buddhists, backed the Japanese. There was a slight spark in tensions at that point of time. As time passed, countries under British rule were eventually declared independent. So was Burma in 1948. At the same time, India was declared independent and two new countries were formed, West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Muslim was declared as the main religion of these newly formed nations. The Burmese figured that since Rohingyas are predominantly Muslims and bordered Bangladesh, they would eventually go back to Bangladesh. However, they didn’t. This was the point where Myanmar stared expelling the Rohingyas.

The process of expelling the Rohingyas started in 1962 when Myanmar was taken over by the military. The military dissolved the constitution and framed a new one. They were hardcore nationalists who strongly believed in Buddhist ideologies. To make their grounds stronger, they found a gullible enemy: the Rohingyas.

In 1978, an operation called Dragon King was launched which aimed to drive over 200,000 Rohingyas out of Burma. The armed forces were reported to use violence and rape women to drive them out of the country. This operation failed as over 150,000 Rohingyas returned to Burma instead of fleeing. Then, a new law was passed in 1982.

According to section 3 of Burmese citizenship law of 1982, “Only members of ethnic groups that settled within Myanmar prior to 1883 are automatically eligible for Myanmar citizenship. Otherwise, if they have descendants that have entered prior to 1948 can apply for naturalisation if they can submit strong and concrete evidence.” This law recognised over 135 ethnic groups but didn’t recognise Rohingyas with over one million in population. Thus, the Rohingyas were denied citizenship. According to the Burmese, the Rohingyas were remnants of the British colonial empire and as mentioned earlier, they were considered as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. To complicate situations further, most Rohingyas didn’t have the proper paperwork to prove their citizenship. On the contrary, the Burmese government didn’t provide the Rohingyas with proper documentation. This was more like a cycle as to who should put the blame on whom.

Burmese people protesting to expel Rohingyas
Native Burmese refusing to accept Rohingyas in the country


Small rebellion groups were formed in the next few years to counter the monstrosities caused by the Burmese military. They failed. To make things worse, Myanmar launched another operation called “Operation clean and beautiful nation.” The objective of this operation was the same as the Dragon King. This time, the operation saw success as over 250,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh. Tensions continued to rise in the early 2000s. Things took a drastic turn in 2012.

All the government needed was a reason to create unrest. They got what they exactly wanted. In 2012, 4 Rohingya men were accused of raping and killing a Buddhist woman. This act was greatly resented by the Buddhists in the country. The nationalist government of Myanmar following Buddhist principles made use of the army and started attacking Muslim neighbourhoods in the state of Rakhine, burning down houses, killing innocents and raping women. This propaganda was at that point declared as “ethnic cleansing” by the Human Rights Watch. Many people were displaced from their homes and many had to flee to Bangladesh.

The Rohingyas decided not to back down. A rebellion group called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) was formed in 2012 which aimed to prevent the Burmese army’s heinous acts on the Rohingya people and protect them. Up until 2016, this army carried out small-scale attacks on the border police forces. In 2017, things got messy. The ARSA attacked a border police base in 2017, which left around 15 police officers dead. The Burmese army retaliated with twice the intensity, which left around 400 dead and caused a mass exodus of the Rohingya people to Bangladesh.

Rohingya houses burnt

Since then, most Rohingyas live as refugees in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, scattered over a large area. The conditions are inhospitable. A common man can only imagine how perilous their lives are. Quite surprisingly, Myanmar’s State-counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who is a Nobel peace prize winner for her non-violent struggle for human rights, failed to acknowledge this crisis and said things that were deemed controversial by many critics. According to some sources, landmines were placed in in the Bangladesh border to prevent the Rohingyas from returning. Horrid, isn’t it?


Sheikh Hasina refuses to take in Rohingya refugees
Sheikh Hasina, The Prime Minister of Bangladesh

One might wonder, “why is Bangladesh not accepting the Rohingya people?” Well, first things first. The Bangladeshi PM, Sheikh Hasina, during an interview with Al Jazeera, publicly declared that the refugees are not the state’s responsibility. She also said that it is not in Bangladesh’s best interest to take in over a million refugees as Bangladesh itself is a small nation with a humongous population and it can’t take the burden of a million more people. Bangladesh says that this is an issue for which Myanmar should be held accountable. However, Bangladesh did provide the Rohingyas with food and other basic needs. They claim that they had asked persuaded the refugees to return to their own country, however, many sources claim that the Bangladeshi soldiers drove them away with force.


The Rohingya crisis doesn’t seem to have an end. No country is willing to take responsibility for millions of refugees. It is probably one of the worst humanitarian crisis the world has ever witnessed. The dreadful conditions of the refugees are something that a common man could never think of. Many organisations like the UN and others have failed to act on this issue because there is nothing that the UN could do to force the countries to accept them. All that the UN could do is provide aid to the refugees and negotiate with the respective governments. All one can do right now is hope that things will be alright as the time passes by because life is never short of miracles. Maybe one day, the Burmese government will recognise the Rohingyas as a part of Myanmar’s demographics.


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