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Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Who Is Right And Who Is Wrong? – OpEd

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It is one year now since the Rohingya refugee crisis erupted, when Myanmar military cracked down on the terrorists operating in Rakhine state, that sparked mass exodus of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to camps in Bangladesh.

Rohingya militants staged attacks on Myanmar police posts on August,25 last year, which made it necessary for the Myanmar police and army to launch crack down on the militants and terrorists in Rakhine state . The provocation came from the militants and not from Myanmar government.

While lakhs of people living in Rakhine state ran to the nearby Bangladesh fearing the army attack , Myanmar government has been repeatedly saying that it’s forces only targeted the insurgents and the terrorists and the crack down was not aimed at the citizens of Rakhine state. Further, Myanmar government and it’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has explained in several forums that the crackdown on the militants and terrorists became necessary to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Myanmar state.

The human rights groups and United Nations Organisation have repeatedly accused Myanmar government for it’s act of cracking down on the terrorists, which caused sufferings to innocent citizens. Without seeing the validity in the explanation given by Myanmar government, the activist groups have looked at the issue only from the point of view of Rohingya refugees, moved by the sufferings of the poor and impoverished refugees who ran to Bangladesh from Rakhine state.

In the past, every country in the world has acted in the same way as Myanmar has done, when the countries were confronted by acts of terrorism and militancy by separatist groups.

It is well known that the terrorists and the militants believe in the use of force to achieve their ends and without scruples, they use the innocent civilians as shield to launch violent attacks against the establishments. As the militants believe only in violence, there is no point in making peace efforts to make them see reason or try to persuade them to give up arms and refrain from violent attacks.

Is there any other way to deal with the armed terrorists and militants than the use of force to crack down on them and eliminate them and their movement.

Certainly, if any group of people have some grievances , they are entitled to protest and demand remedial actions and even separate state. But, under no circumstances, such groups can indulge in terrorist acts to achieve their ends.In such case, the terrorist forces have to be necessarily met with force.

It is strange that no human rights activist groups or even United Nations Organisation condemn the militants and terrorists for their acts but criticise the state authority who use force to put down terrorism.

As the militants and terrorists mingle with the innocent people while launching their guerilla attacks, it is inevitable that innocent people suffer when the state attempts to fight out the terrorists. This was what happened in Sri Lanka, now in Kashmir in India and in several other parts of the world including China , Afghanistan and other regions.

When lakhs of Rohingya refugees entered Bangladesh seeking asylum, the problem virtually shifted from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Bangladesh government has handled the refugee issue in the best manner possible for it and viewing it as humanitarian issue , inspite of the fact that the economy of the Bangladesh is not strong enough to tackle such issues.

Even as the Myanmar government cracked down on the militants in Rakhine state, the militants have not faded away. The Arakkan Rohingya Salvation Army is still alive and kicking and has issued the Rohingya refugee crisis anniversary statement , in which it condemned Myanmar’s “ terrorist government and genocidal military”.

The fact is that The Arakkan Rohingya Salvation Army launched military attack against the police posts, which caused the retaliation by the Myanmar army and resulted in exodus of refugees from Myanmar. Does not this Arakkan Rohingya Salvation Army have any responsibility for causing this entire crisis?

The fact is that the Myanmar government has made an agreement with Bangladesh government to repatriate the refugees but only a small group of people have gone back. Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi said that it is upto Bangladesh “to decide how quickly” repatriation of the refugees can be accomplished.

The human rights activists and United Nations Organisation, which accused the Myanmar government in severe terms, has done nothing to encourage the Rohingya refugees to go back to their motherland and create confidence in them that their interests and safety would be protected.

Instead of accepting the offer of Myanmar government to welcome back the refugees , tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees staged angry protests for “justice” on the first anniversary of the refugee crisis. Is it possible that these refugees want to make Bangladesh as their permanent place of stay which may lead to future problem for Bangladesh , when these refugees may even claim that the refugee camps that they occupy now should be the land of their own.

Obviously, the Arakkan Rohingya Salvation Army must have got itself well entrenched amongst the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In all probability, such protests by Rohingya refugees on the anniversary day of Rohingya crisis could have been even prompted by the militant groups.

Ultimate solution for Rohingya refugee crisis is that the Rohingya refugees have to go back to Myanmar, particularly when Myanmar government has agreed to take them back. The human rights activists and United Nations Organisation must play proactive and constructive role in achieving this end, instead of acting as arm chair critics.


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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

One thought on “Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Who Is Right And Who Is Wrong? – OpEd

  • August 27, 2018 at 1:55 pm
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    The writer is a Hindu extremist who hates Muslims. His writing is not objective and objectionable. Hitler used these kinds of rhetoric to justify extermination of jews in Germany. Unfortunately India has propped up ideologies like these after Modi came to power with hateful vengeance against people of other religions. He has divided India into fractious units.

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