Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Nasaka (Burma’s border security force) was taking lists of Rohingya families as Bengali in the column of Nationality in a Form (provided by the government) by threatening (even with gun point) and also taking signature forcibly since yesterday in Maungdaw Township, according to a village leader who denied to be named.
“Yesterday, the Imams (religious leader) of mosques together with village administration officers of under the Nasaka area No.1, 2, 5 and 6 were summoned to the local Nasaka headquarters. Having reached there to the office, they are ordered to put off the religious dress (cap and long shirt), taking photographs and to pay Kyat 500 each before entering the Nasaka camp.”
Besides, the Nasaka asked their names, age, and the names of their grandfather, grandmother and birth place of them. Later, the Nasaka asked their nationality. When the Imams said that they are Rohingya nationality, not Bengali, but the authority was “writing in the Nationality column” as Bengali and forcibly taking their signatures, one of the administration officers said.
The Nasaka personnel forcibly (with gun point) took signatures from some of the imams, but some others fled from the scene and went to their villages seeing the events. The Nasaka collected Taka 2,000 to 3,000 per head for photos, he more added.
“Today, the Nasaka also went to Maung Nama village of Maungdaw north and south as well as Maungdaw town and did similar to yesterday. Villagers do not like the Nasaka’s activities against the Rohingya community that they try to make us Bengali by using their power,” said a trader from Maungdaw.
“In the wake of its cracks to forcibly to make Bengali to the ethnic Rohingyas, Burmese government has been implementing a measure one after another since last two months.”
“The government is making all efforts to prove its false accusing us of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and is forcing us gently sometimes and terribly sometimes to identify themselves as Bengalis,” said a schoolteacher from Maungdaw Town.
The government’s first policy was dishonest offers and false promises that it will provide Rohingyas with all fundamental rights if they admit to being Bengalis as their ethnic origin, he more added.
When the government has realized that these offers and promises have fallen on deaf ears as nobody dared to lie about ethnicity Rohingyas, the government’s next attempt is to threaten the Rohingyas as by arresting, torturing, beating and extorting huge money.
Certainly, the government’s thinking beyond forcing the Imams first is that perhaps the public will follow them blindly in admitting to be illegal immigrants. And all these efforts are being made by the government to blind the world to its lying for decades and to show as proofs in need, said a Rohingya leader preferring not to be named.
We, the ethnic Rohingya are not motivated to accept the ideology of the brutal regime of President Thein Sein, forcefully; it wants to make us Bengali the whole ethnic Roingya with pressure. We’ll constantly resist until end, we’ll die as Rohingya, he more added.
“For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there is no excuse for violence against innocent people. And the Rohingya hold themselves – hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do,” according to President Obama’s speech at Rangoon University.
But, the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (PNDR) Chairman Dr. Aye Maung telling Irrawaddy, “I do not like the word ‘Rohingya and the word ‘Rohingya’ is newly invented by illegal immigrants. They are trying to be an ethnic group of our country with a grave intention. Obama has to study about them and he was ignorant to use the word “Rohingya”.
The government will pursue a four-point plan – changing people’s prejudices, promoting education, creating jobs—and introducing a program of birth control- aimed at resolving the bitter divisions between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Arakan State, said the Burma’s President Thein Sein, speaking to Burmese media at a press conference on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh on November 21.
This is theoretically an excellent idea. The only problem is, it will go against the Rakhine pogrom of Rohingya extermination. How the President is going to fix that?, said Dr. Abid Bahar, saying with reference of the Rakhine community- monks, politicians, political party and civilian- didn’t want to stay together with Rohingya community.
“The regime needs to be told that there are lots of misunderstanding about the origin of the Rohingya. In their minds, the Rohingya existence has been intimately tied up with “Indian seasonal migration” to Burma. But facts are different,” said Dr. Habib Siddiqui.
Dr. Siddiqui’s recent communications with former Ambassador Derek Tonkin of UK amply shows that there were significant Arakanese Muslims all along and the Indian immigration for seasonal labor should not be confused with this indigenous group (that is term used in the British report by Baxter in 1940, after the race riots in Burma). Education to clear such false myths has to be a priority to create a more conduce society in Burma.