One of the most puzzling questions that has yet to be answered is, how did the Myanmar Army get away with such large scale atrocities against the Rohingya? To solve this conundrum, one needs to go back to the military’s deliberate and planned strategy that led to the horrific clampdown that forced thousands of Rohingya to flee the place they called home.
The dominant elite in Myanmar’s polity share the belief that the Rohingya are recent migrants, and therefore, are not part of Myanmar’s ethnic citizenry. The majority population is therefore hostile towards them. They are seen as a community that has a high fertility rate and are resented for intermarrying with ethnic locals. An accepted narrative is that the presence of the Rohingya will result in large scale Islamisation from the west border. Such notions have shaped the collective perception of Rohingyas being a security threat that justifies military operations to “free Myanmar” of them.
In 2011, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing took over as Chief of Defence, Myanmar. In one of his strategic directives, he categorically mentioned, “We have an unfinished job”. Following his takeover, hate speech against the Rohingya increased. Myanmar’s media started demonising the Rohingya and building aggressive public opinion against them, saying that they were Bengalis who had migrated to Rakhine state in the recent past. Some Buddhist militant monks, under the leadership of Ashin Wirathu and the 969 (Anti-Muslim) movement, rekindled the issue by professing that in the future, there will be Islamisation in Myanmar from the west (Rakhine/Bangladesh).
In 2014, a group of our senior officers from Bangladesh was attending a strategic level international course in Beijing, and in one of the discussions, a very senior Chinese General asked one of our officers about the importance of the Rohingya in Bangladesh’s domestic politics.
Jul 24, 2021Police and civil authorities in the Indian capital have demolished a makeshift mosque in a Rohingya camp, say the refugees, weeks after a massive fire had engulfed the settlement. The mosque, made up of tarpaulin sheets and bamboo sticks, was bulldozed at about 7am local time (01:30 GMT) on Thursday, at the camp located in […]