It was Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s first visit to the crucial neighbouring country, Myanmar, at a time when the Buddhist extremists and military of that country were engaged in genocide of Rohingya Muslims, about more than a million who have been living in the Rahkhine state of the country, bordering Bangladesh for centuries, but denied citizenship. This was not the first time, the Rohingya Muslims are being harassed and hounded by the Buddhists, the majority population of the country. The persecution has always been so severe and merciless that thousands of Rohingyas are forced to leave their land and cross over the border of the next-door neighbour, Bangladesh. The present crisis that began last month when the Myanmar Army initiated a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in the wake of an extremist group of Rohingya called Arkan Rohingya Salvation Army ( ARSA) attacking a military post killing six Army personnel. The ARSA was recently formed to resist the Myanmar Army which has a long history of persecuting Rohingyas. It is reported that within a span of three weeks more than 1000 Rohingyas were killed while the official figure is 400. Rohingya Muslims not only are being set ablaze alive, but their houses and villages are being gutted in arson attacks. Even children and women are not spared. A hell is being unleashed on them. The irony of the circumstances is that the country is controlled by the civil counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who got Nobel Prize for Peace in the past. She is simply playing spectator and choosing not to condemn the hell let loose by the Army and Buddhist extremists.
Against this bloody backdrop, the Prime Minister visited the country and discussed bilateral issues with Suu Kyi, but none of them spoke about Rohingya Muslims who are now facing the killing field in their land. On the contrary, the joint statement referred the ARSA attack on the army post. The Prime Minister Modi said he shared Myanmar’s , “concerns about extremist violence in Rahkhine state, specially the violence against security forces”. It is nothing but a brutal joke to refer the killing of six Army jawans and ignoring the barbaric retaliation in which more than 1000 innocent people were killed and lakhs of Rohingyas left their land. Suu Kyi may be under the fear of the military that ruled the country till 2015 when the majority of the people voted for democracy and now it is under the process of democratization. The Prime Minister of the greatest democracy of the world could have put a word to Suu Kyi, who is made to be shown as a democratic leader in that country, to be bold enough to persuade the Army to stop the bloody game of persecution of Rohingya Muslims. However, the politics prevailed and courage of conviction to support the basic human values miserably failed. Toasting for bilateral ties, the Prime Minister simply ignored the genocide of the Muslim population of Myanmar.
The government of India is now following the Prime Minister, which is logically correct. It announced and even directed the states to deport Rohingyas who entered the country in the past as refugees. They are mostly settled in Jammu, Ladakh, and some Tamil Nadu areas besides cities of Jaipur, Delhi, and Hyderabad. Some PILs have been filed in the Supreme Court supporting the cause of Rohingyas and the court will hear them on September 18. Meanwhile during the present crisis, about 3 lakh refugees entered Bangladesh which already sheltered 3 lakh Rohingyas. It is worth noting that on September 12, the United Nations Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussain flayed all attempts by India to deport Rohingyas to Myanmar where their ethnic minority community is facing violence. Under the present circumstances, India should reconsider its stand and ensure that its refugee policies do not discriminate against Rohingya Muslims.