In the past two years the Rohingyas – a minority Muslim ethnicity residing in the Rakhine state of Buddhist majority Myanmar – have dominated the world news. Global media, human rights organisations and Islamic ummah have poured their heart in support of Rohingyas; highlighted the ‘atrocities’ committed upon them and fired all kinds of demagoguery to make Myanmar’s Buddhist state look like authoritarian desuetude with no morality and filled with a plethora of ‘islamophobia’. Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace price laureate – was criticised across the globe for letting the military fight against Rohingya militants of Rakhine state.
Rohingyas for years are nationless ethnicity and have been called by UN as ‘among the world’s least wanted’. There are around 2 million Rohingyas around the world – 1.3 million and 400k of them being in Bangladesh and Myanmar respectively – hovering amidst the uncertainty of their citizenship. Myanmar, after August 25, 2017, started a brutal crackdown of the Rohingyas in their traditional backyard of the Rakhine state after a terrorist attack on police forces by a radical militant wing of the Rohingyas – the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The crackdown resulted in the migration of more than 7,00,000 Rohingyas into neighbouring Bangladesh and India. The Rohingyas were subjected to ‘genocidal’ crimes, in words of UN. The crisis was termed as ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.
The Rohingya crisis, for entire 2017 and 2018, had captured the global limelight and dominated international coverages. Termed as ‘crime against humanity,’ the issue stained Myanmar’s relations with the world. Intellectuals from every corner started schooling Myanmar government on morality and humanity. The world had its guns – of various forms depending on gunner – pointed at Myanmar’s head for pushing ‘innocent’, as they say, Rohingyas into crisis. UN held that Myanmar military must be tried for crimes committed against Rohingyas. Canada ripped Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship. Just months ago, US sanctioned or banned Myanmar’s military general. Collateral reputation damage reached even India and the UN, global human rights organisations and international media asked India to accept Rohingyas into its fold as refugees. And when India decided to deport 40,000 illegal Rohingyas to Bangladesh, the world got rattled and started bibbing their bits of moral superiority from the chalices of criticism.
Indeed, Rohingyas have been subjected to extreme brutality and hatred at the hands of Myanmar military. As per a report, 24,000 Rohingyas were killed, 18,000 Rohingya women were subjected to sexual violence and rape, 1,15,000 homes were burned down, and 36,000 Rohingyas were thrown into the fire as a result of Myanmar military’s crackdown. By various estimates, around 7,00,000 to 7,50,000 Rohingyas crossed into Bangladesh and India for refuge. Despite the shaggy reliability of the reports documenting casualties in Rohingya crisis – which were termed by Myanmar government as ‘false’ and ‘incorrect’ – it is no fallacy that the crisis has destroyed lives of many Rohingyas and has dented the human values.
But despite their sufferings there remains a fundamental aspect in Rohingyas spawning a proclivity of repulsion against them in India. Rohingyas have not been all innocent as proclaimed by the global stakeholders and harbingers of humanity. Being true to their banal nature, international media has, deliberately or ignorantly, veiled the other side of Rohingyas. For India – which is host to more than 40,000 illegal Rohingya immigrants – it’s of great importance to clear the smog and walk the path of clarity and reality.
Background to Rohingya Duplicitousness
Adding background to their nature, these are the same Rohingyas who approached Mohammad Ali Jinnah – the radical Islamist politician who divided India by instilling the religious extremism – with a request of merger of Rohingya dominated areas into Pakistan. Few townships of Rakhine were Rohingya Muslim dominated and Rohingya leaders had approached Jinnah with a hope of ‘liberation’ from Buddhist Myanmar and merger with Islamic Pakistan. Jinnah had rejected Rohingya plea avoiding possible British annoyance.
Few months after Pakistan’s godfather Jinnah’s rejection of Rohingya proposal, Rohingyas formed a militant organisation to wage jihad against peace-loving Buddhist population of Myanmar and pan-Islamise the entire Rakhine region. They committed atrocities and resorted to burning and looting. The militants targeted Rakhine Buddhist interests as well as the government, quickly seizing control of large parts of the north and expelling many Buddhist villagers. But the Buddhists rather than being cowed down, decided to retaliate and ensured that the Rohingya Muslims are unable to change the geography of the region. Having failed to realise their dream of a separate nation, Rohingya Muslims started seeking Burmese citizenship.
In 1974, inspired by the rise of pan-Islamist movements in the world and driven by the fundamentally radical ideology, Rohingyas formed the Rohingya Patriotic Front – an extremists armed group to wage war against Myanmar’s Buddhists and Hindus. Few years later it split into several factions, one of the more radical of which became the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) armed group in 1982. The RSO split in 1986, giving rise to the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) fraction; in 1998, the two groups formed a loose alliance, the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the RSO had small bases in remote parts of Bangladesh near the Myanmar border but was not thought to have any inside Myanmar. In its highest-profile attack in April 1994, several dozen militants entered Maungdaw from Bangladesh, including a group landed by boat in Myin Hlut village-tract, south Maungdaw. On 28 April, bombs they planted in Maungdaw town caused damage and several civilian injuries, and Rohingya militants then followed up with attacks on the town’s outskirts.
Later in 1992, Rohingyas were declared non-nationals by Myanmar’s government, leading to a crackdown by the Myanmar military. The crackdown caused migration of many Rohingyas to other countries, majority of them resorting in Bangladesh’s Cox bazar; where they were easily radicalised on the basis of religion, they became cannon fodder for global jihadi groups. In a well-hatched conspiracy and masterly executed plan, they were also infiltrated illegally to India through porous border with Bangladesh. One of the destinations of the illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants was Jammu, a sensitive Hindu-majority border town already facing the brunt of a demographic invasion from north of Pir Panjal and ISI-sponsored jihadi terror. The reason for selecting Jammu was in consonance with the earlier stated two-fold mission of the ISI.
The militancy and radicalisation only upsurged since then leading to recruitment of several Rohingyas into the extremist fold of jihadi ummah. Many researchers have highlighted the rise in the radicalisation of Rohingyas aided by foreign players mainly from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In May 2015 a JSTOR research paper titled ‘Myanmar at the crossroads: Shadows of jihadi extremism’ informed about the upsurge flow of jihadi extremist ideology in Muslims of Myanmar aided by the network of terrorist organisations. The study mentioned the harsh sectarian conflict in Myanmar along with threats posed by local insurgent groups, including the probability that these groups might attempt to link up with jihadist terrorist groups like ISIS. JSTOR highlighted the emerging dangers deriving from the intensification of the use of social media networks by jihadist extremists to expand their influence and spread their caliphate ideology.
Along with this, in December 2016 a Crisis group paper had reported about the rise of ‘new Muslim insurgency in the Rakhine state’ citing on the basis of developments including militant attacks on Myanmar security forces on 9th October and 12th of November, 2016. The report called it a violence ‘qualitatively different from anything in recent decades’ which, it added, ‘seriously threatens the prospects of stability and development in the state and has serious implications for Myanmar as a whole.’ Since 9 October, several hundred young Rohingya men from Bangladesh have joined the fight. However, the main fighting force is made up of Muslim villagers in northern Rakhine State who have been given basic training and organised into village-level cells to limit risks of compromise. These are mostly led by young Islamic clerics (known as “Mullahs” or “Maulvis”) or scholars (“Hafiz”) from those villages.
Massacre of Myanmar’s Hindus at the hands of Rohingyas
The Rohingyas – who are revered in India by the liberal, commie, Islamist brigade as innocent and hapless – are just another group of veiled jihadis who, at the right opportunity, would massacre every non-Muslim in their path. The quintessential practical example of this vindictive nature of Rohingyas is the recent massacre of innocent Hindus of Myanmar in 2017. Amnesty international in 2018 reported that Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – the militant terrorist wing of Rohingyas – massacred up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children as well as additional unlawful killings and abductions of Hindu villagers in August 2017.
Based on dozens of interviews conducted there and across the border in Bangladesh, as well as photographic evidence analysed by forensic pathologists, the organisation revealed how Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters sowed fear among Hindus and other ethnic communities with these brutal attacks.
At around 8 am on 25 August 2017, ARSA attacked the Hindu community in the village of Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik, in a cluster of villages known as Kha Maung Seik in northern Maungdaw Township. Armed men dressed in black and local Rohingya villagers in plain clothes rounded up dozens of Hindu women, men and children. They robbed, bound, and blindfolded them before marching them to the outskirts of the village, where they separated the men from the women and young children. A few hours later, the ARSA fighters killed 53 of the Hindus, execution-style, starting with the men.
Eight Hindu women and eight of their children were abducted and spared, after ARSA fighters forced the women to agree to “convert” to Islam. The survivors were forced to flee with the fighters to Bangladesh several days later, before being repatriated to Myanmar in October 2017 with the support of the Bangladeshi and Myanmar authorities.
Bina Bala, a 22-year-old woman who survived the massacre, told Amnesty International:
“[The men] held knives and long iron rods. They tied our hands behind our backs and blindfolded us. I asked what they were doing. One of them replied, ‘You and Rakhine are the same, you have a different religion, you can’t live here. He spoke the [Rohingya] language. They asked what belongings we had, then they beat us. Eventually, I gave them my gold and money.”
According to a detailed list of the dead, given to Amnesty International, the victims from Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik include 20 men, 10 women, and 23 children, 14 of whom were under the age of eight. This is consistent with multiple testimonies the organisation gathered in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, from survivors and witnesses as well as Hindu community leaders.
The same day, all of the 46 Hindu men, women, and children in the neighbouring village of Ye Bauk Kyar disappeared. Members of the Hindu community in northern Rakhine State presume the community was killed by the same ARSA fighters. Combined with those from Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik, the total death toll is believed to be 99.
The bodies of 45 people from Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik were unearthed in four mass graves in late September 2017. The remains of the rest of the victims from that village, as well as all 46 from Ye Bauk Kyar, have not been found to date.
The bone-chilling report unearthed the dark hatred against Hindus in the minds of Rohingyas and gave voice to the dead. The dead man tells no tales as they say but they certainly tell about the killer who killed them. Dead Hindus of Rakhine are the testimony to the extent of extremism and terrorism Rohingyas can reach.
Rohingya links to Pakistani terror outfits
Rohingyas have a link with global jihadi outfits. Even Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, in an interview to a Karachi-based newspaper, Ummat, had referred to Burma where a strong jihadi force existed. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Rohingyas have the support of Kashmiri terrorists. Zakir Musa, the self- styled commander of Al Qaeda affiliate, Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind, in a 10-minute audio message, released on YouTube channel Ansar Ghazwa, warned the Government against deporting Rohingya Muslims in Jammu.
Incidentally, Rohingyas are also affiliated to a Bangladesh-based outfit, the Bangladesh Islami Chhatrashibir (ICS), a militant arm of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, and are responsible for launching violent street demonstrations, attacking security forces, secular political rivals and secular individuals.
In July 2018, Economic Times reported little-known Rohingya terror group Aqa Mul Mujahideen or HaY (Harakah al-Yaqin is called Aqa Mul Mujahideen by Myanmar government) blamed for the recent attacks on Myanmar border outposts by the country’s president not only maintains links with Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) but is learnt to have developed ties with the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) cell in Jammu and Kashmir.
Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM) leaders were trained in Pakistan and they later recruited Rohingya youth in Rakhine region of Myanmar. AMM is a new armed group that originated from Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami Arakan (HUJI-A). The current HUJI-A chief Abdus Qadoos Burmi, a Pakistani national of Rohingya origin, who it is claimed recruited one Hafiz Tohar from Maungdaw in Myanmar. Tohar is now said to be heading the AMM and Qadoos Burmi is reported to be close to Saeed. Saeed’s other terror group, Jamat ud Dawa (JuDD)’s humanitarian arm, Falah-e-Insaniat (FiF), was active in Rohingya relief camps in Rakhine State after the 2012 riots.
Their illegal migration to India and the decision to settle in any part of the country is being masterminded by a core group, created by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The ISI’s intention is two-fold: First, to spread fundamentalism in areas they settle and thereafter, use them for pan-Islamisation of the region. Second, to foment political and religious fights to force the exodus of Hindus to alter the regional demography. Rohingya connection with the global jihad network and Pakistan’s ISI are pellucid and unambiguously established, hence assuming the Rohingya possess a tenebrous anti-Hindu hatred and radical mentality won’t be wrong.
Rohingyas, apart from their hapless side, also possess a dark malevolent side. The fundamentals of Rohingyas are no different than those of terrorists in Pakistan fuelled by the common ideological fire of waging jihad and establishing an Islamic state. The influx of Rohingyas in India, from India’s national security point of view, is dangerous and calamitous. Their affiliation to Pakistani terror outfits, history of extremism and the recent massacre of innocent Hindus by them bears testimony to the vindictive side of Rohingyas. These are exactly sufficing reasons why India should never let the Rohingyas in.
Columnist and undergraduate student from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Two time state topper in Science and Art of Lecturing.