On Thursday, August 25, thousands of Rohingya Muslims refugees held rallies in various parts of Bangladesh to demand repatriation back to their home state of Rakhine in western Myanmar.
The Rohingyas, who took refuge in Bangladesh after fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar after carrying out a mass genocide against Hindus in 2017, held “Genocide Remembrance Day” rallies across a vast network of camps in Bangladesh on Thursday, to mark the fifth anniversary of their exodus.
Rohingya refugees shout slogans during a “Genocide Remembrance Day” rally marking the 5th anniversary since fleeing Myanmar from a military offensive, at a refugee camp in Ukhi, Bangladesh— Pixiedust (@PixiedustJtT) August 25, 2022
Credit: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images pic.twitter.com/3qdssmGAgH
Bangladesh’s newspaper The Daily Star quoted a Bangladeshi government official as saying that the “Bari Cholo” (Let’s Go Home) campaign involved 23 Rohingya camps, 21 in Ukhiam and two in Teknaf Upazila.
As per reports, the Rohingya Muslims held banners and shouted slogans, demanding a safe return to their home state of Rakhine in western Myanmar.
They also distributed pamphlets outlining their seven-point demand, which includes the immediate repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar, the repeal of Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship act, ensuring the dignity and security of Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the end of Myanmar’s persecution of innocent people.
“We want justice,” shouted the refugees gathered outside their makeshift homes in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday.
“We don’t want to be trapped inside the camps for the rest of our lives; it’s painful.” “We want to return home,” Muhammad Zubair, one of the community leaders, told a rally at the Kutupalong camp, one of the world’s largest refugee settlements.
Another leader Maung Sawyedollah said, “today is the day thousands of Rohingya were killed. Only the Rohingya can understand the pain of the 25th of August. Five years ago this day nearly one million Rohingya were displaced. On this day in 2017 more than 300 of our villages were burnt down to ashes,” he said.
“All we want is a safe and dignified return to our homeland,” said Sayed Ullah, another community leader said, adding, “Unfortunately, our cries have fallen on deaf ears. The international community is not doing anything. Here in the camps, we are languishing in tarp and bamboo shelters and barely surviving on handouts.”
The Myanmar military has, in fact, subjected Rohingyas to extreme brutality and hatred. According to a report, as a result of Myanmar’s military crackdown, 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. According to various estimates, between 7,00,000 and 7,50,000 Rohingyas sought refuge in Bangladesh and India.
Amnesty confirms massacre of Hindus by Rohingya terrorists in Myanmar
In 2018 Amnesty International, the Indian arm of which has had quite a few run-ins with the law, finally confirmed the massacre of the Hindus by Rohingya Muslims even as Indian ‘liberals’ tried to whitewash their crimes. As per the reports, an investigation carried out by Amnesty had revealed that an armed Rohingya group was responsible for at least one, and potentially a second, massacre of up to 99 Hindu men, women and children as well as unlawful abductions in August 2017.
Amnesty has based its report on dozens of interviews conducted in Rakhine and across the border in Bangladesh and throws light on the largely under-reported human rights abuses by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters, who have sowed fear among Hindus and other ethnic communities with these brutal attacks.
The report gave details of the massacre in Kha Maung Seik in August 2017, killing Hindus, executing style, sparing those who agreed to ‘convert’ to Islam. The report also stated other killings and violent attacks against the other ethnic and minority communities by the Rohingya terrorists.
In fact, in September 2017, Times Now reports revealed how 300 Rohingyas had abducted 100 Hindus on 25 August and killed 92 of them. According to several Hindu refugees, they fled their lands after the Rohingya terrorists came to attack them with weapons like swords, guns and even spears. The hundreds of attackers reportedly burnt the Hindus’ homes and even shouted that Rakhine is an Islamic state.
An India Today report also covered the 25th August attack on the village and claimed that the attackers identified the Hindu families, assaulted them and then took them up to a hill to carry out their execution. They reportedly only spared 8 young women who were told that they would have to convert and get remarried. The captive women were even forced to offer Namaz and were made to wear a Burkha.
Besides murdering Hindus, Rohingyas launched coordinated attacks against Myanmar authorities, Army retaliated
Besides conducting mass murder of Hindus, the Rohingya armed group ARSA had on August 25, 2017, also stage coordinated attacks on dozens of police posts in Myanmar’s coastal Rakhine state, killing at least a dozen officers.
On 25 August 2017, the Myanmar government announced that 71 people (one soldier, one immigration officer, 10 policemen and 59 insurgents) had been killed overnight during coordinated attacks by up to 150 insurgents across 24 police posts and the 552nd Light Infantry Battalion army base in Rakhine State.
The army retaliated with operations in Rohingya villages, ostensibly to flush out ARSA members. As per the UN estimates, the Myanmar army killed as many as 1,000 people in the first two weeks of the military operations.
As a result of the military crackdown, on September 5, 2017, more than 120,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, overwhelming the country’s under-resourced refugee camps. There were already at least 200,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh from previous waves of violence.