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Humanitarian Calamity of Rohingyas’ in Bangladesh
Mohammad Istiaq Jawad — is a Graduate Student, Bangladesh University of Professionals, International relations.
Since late August 2017, almost 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma’s Rakhine State to escape the military‟s large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing. The atrocities committed by Burmese security forces, including mass killings, sexual violence, and widespread arson, amount to crimes against humanity. Military and civilian officials have repeatedly denied that security forces committed abuses during the operations, claims which are contradicted by extensive evidence and witness accounts. The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and repression under successive Burmese governments. Effectively denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law, they are one of the largest stateless populations in the world. Restrictions on movement and lack of access to basic health care have led to dire humanitarian conditions for those displaced by earlier waves of violence in 2012 and 2016. Policies that are taken to reduce the crisis are not enough. In near future this manmade calamity will turn into a disaster if not taken proper care. In this research a brief historical analysis of Rohingya crisis and refugee influx has been discussed in focus on contemporary incidents. Bangladesh’s presence and stances in this issue has been evaluated but most of the scene has given a negative flow in the picture. Thus, Sisyphean Complexity has been used as an anecdote in this research to describe the many negative flows in national, international and regional forums.
According to Imtiaz Ahmed (2009) there are Two Assumptions about earlier history of Rohingyas‟ origin: One is, they are the descendants from Moorish, Arab, Persian, Mongol, Tark and Pathans who used to trade in this region, mostly timber. Myths narrate that these were inevitable due to a shipwreck incident near Rakhine region. The other one is during Colonial period; Bangladeshis intrude the region due to works and other issues (Ahmed, 2009). In the following part a brief historical background will be set up to evaluate Rohingya Refugee crisis in four historical phases:
Pre-Colonial Period: Islam reached Arakan before 788 A.D (Collis, 1960). According to Global Security (2011) A flow of refugee influx can be seen in 1400s when Min Khaung, to punish Narameikhla, invaded Arakan in 1404 and again in 1406, and Narameikhla , king of Arakan, fled to Bengal in the latter year. There he remained under the protection of the king of Bengal for over twenty years (Global Security 2011). It is the earlier historical evidence of migratory flow from Rakhine to Bengal.
With the help of Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah, Arakan king regained his power in 1430. A number of Mughal soldiers remained in Arakan area and get mixed with the native. This is another explanation how Rohingyas are historically Muslim (Yegar, 2002).
But in 1437 Jalaluddin Shah died and Arakan was no longer a vassal state. However, still during 1500s Mughal influence was severe in Arakan. With the help of the business, Magh Pirates started to get active in Arakan area along with Chattagram area. In 1661 Shah Shuja, posted „Kamain‟ soldiers to withdraw Arakan king, and in 1666 Shayesta khan invaded this region to stop Magh piracy. Interestingly in 1982 Citizenship Act, Myanmar added this „Kamain‟ ethnic group in 135 groups but not the Rohingyas (Ullah, 2016). This is a clear sign how Rohingyas are targeted specially for this genocide.
In 1784-85, Burmese King Budyapwa attacked Arakan, 20 thousands to 2 lakh people pleaded in Bangladesh, a refugee influx was seen. Among them two-third was muslim. In 1796, Hiram Cox was assigned to take surveys and research in Cox‟s Bazar area due to this influx (Ullah, 2016).
Colonial Period: Francis Buchanan Hamilton named these refugees the „Rooinga‟ in 1799 (Ullah, 2016). In Colonial period, there were ups and downs in three broad phases.
In First Anglo- Burmese War (1824-25) British were deploying forces as they were seriously threatened by Burmese Kings. In Second Anglo- Burmese War (1853) British reined their power to lower Burma to acquire resources. In Third Anglo-Burmese War (1885) British took power almost half of the Burma and to acquire and manage resources, they started to deploy work forces from Bengal and present-day Bangladesh (Downing, 2017). Throughout the colonial period till Second World War both in and out migration was seen.