– A.S. Mee
That racism and exclusivism are being practiced in a country ruled by a Nobel Laureate for peace who had been launching a fierce fight against her government for securing rights for her people is one of the unpalatable ironies of modern age. The Rohingya Muslims who occupy Rakhine province of Myanmar, have been consistently discriminated against by the majority Buddhists, whose intolerance seems to have no bounds. The Rohingyas have been subjected to in discriminate killings and have been compelled to flee the land which has been their home for generations.
The pace of their migration has suddenly increased after August 24, this year, consequent to the extremist Rohingya groups’ attack on police posts, which met with brutal reprises from the army and the Buddhist mob.
Militancy on the part of Rohingyas must be understood as reaction on the part of the youth after all their patience was worn out, as violence against them did not seem to stop. Incidentally, big powers of the world must think before branding every act of militancy as terrorism.
The only place where they could turn to was Bangladesh, which is doing its best to accommodate the 3,00,000 refugees who have taken unofficial asylum there Bangladesh finding it impossible to take care of their minimum needs, it is but inevitable that they turn to India, where about 40,000 of them have taken refuge in different parts, including Chennai. India, quite contrary to its past record of humanism and humanitarianism to refugees who fled Tibet, East Pakistan (Present Bangla Desh) and Sri Lanka, has now expressed solidarity with the Government of Myanmar and is getting ready to return the refugees to their homeland, where sheer brutality is awaiting them.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has made India’s stand very clear, saying on 21st September that Rohingya Muslims are illegal immigrants and not refugees who have applied for asylum in India.
Rohingya Muslims are fleeing the fury of religious fanatism let loose by the Buddhist majority of their country, in order to save their lives. How can they obtain proper documents? How can they apply for the status of refugees? They are, of course, illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants, armed with proper papers, do not need any one’s mercy or consideration.
It will be an inhuman act, more inhuman than what they have already undergone, to turn them away.
Rightly, the statement of the Minister, has drawn a sharp rebuttal from National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice H.L.Dattu, who has said that the human rights body was helping the refugees as they faced persecution in their homeland. “I look at them as human beings,” he has said, “their rights are being violated. They have to be protected.” But who listens to him?
Why should India take such a stand, contradictory to its policy of solidarity with the oppressed people?
Religious bigotry, what else? It is yet another proof, if you needed one, that India has given the go by to the policy of tolerance and accommodation.