Delhi Muslims protest for the Rohingyas

New Delhi: Indian Muslim organizations and human rights bodies demonstrated near Myanmar embassy in the capital on 9 April against the continuous violation of human rights and violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Indian Muslim organisations and civil society under the banner of the umbrella body, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), condemned the Burmese government in strongest terms for its inaction and collaboration to stop violence against, and expulsion of, its minority Rohingya population in the Rakhine (Arakan) state.

 The demonstration was planned in front of the Myanmar Embassy in the diplomatic enclave but Delhi police stopped the protesters at Teen Moorti Marg near Chankyapuri police station and barricaded the road forcing the protest to take place there in front of the police station.

“We wanted to hold a symbolic protest outside the Myanmar Embassy, but the Delhi Police which is infamous for its goondaism and its Special Cell which has earned global notoriety for fake killings, encounters and implication of innocents in terror cases, has forced us to protest here,” said Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, president of AIMMM. He condemned the Delhi Police for not allowing the protesters to demonstrate peacefully outside the embassy, which is their democratic right in free India.

“We want to tell the world that Muslims in India are not silent, they know that Rohingya Muslims are the most oppressed community of the world today, their citizenship has been snatched away through a strange law found no where in the world, which asks them to prove their citizenship by proving that their ancestors were living in Burma in 1832. I have written a letter to the Myanmar Ambassador that if this law is applied to all communities in Myanmar, the entire country would be empty, as hardly anyone would prove their citizenship on this basis,” said Dr. Khan, who is also editor of The Milli Gazette.

“Roghinyas today are a stateless community; they can’t get education or jobs or passports. Over five lakh Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma and live in the neighbouring countries including our own. Buddhist monks are leading killer mobs which target their towns and villages since February last year,” he said while addressing the demonstrators. This campaign of murder, destruction and torching of thousands of houses and community facilities and expulsion of Rohingyas from their villages continues with the connivance of the Burmese government, he said adding that  “The persecution of Rohingyas started in earnest way back in the 1960s. In 1982, under a strange “law” they were stripped of their Burmese citizenship although  Rohingyas have lived in that part of Burma continuously for around a thousand years and have ruled that area for centuries. As a result of this persecution and maintaining curfew-like situation in Rohingya areas, close to a 150,000 have been forced since to flee to the neighbouring countries especially to Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Malaysia where they are living in pitiful conditions. Many have died while attempting to flee in small boats.”

Jamaat-e Islami Hind’s Secretary Mohammad Ahmad said, “We find it highly disappointing that supporters of the on-going democracy process in Myanmar, led by the Nobel Laureate Ang San SuuKyi, have refused to stand for these hapless citizens of Burma.      

“We condemn the inaction by the Myanmar government and ask upon our own government as well as the international organisations and governments of all freedom-loving nations to stand by the Rohingya people in their hour of need. They should pressurise the Mayanmar junta to mend its ways and apply to the Rohingyas same principles which are applicable to other citizens of Burma and hasten to repatriate the Rohingya refugees who have fled their villages and towns and compensate them adequately to enable them to start their lives once again with honour and dignity and punish the Buddhisht supremacists whose intolerance is turning Burma into a pariah state in the world.”  

 Addressing the gathering, SQR Ilyas, General Secretary of Welfare Party of India, said Myanmar is becoming a Palestine for Rohingya Muslims. “As Palestinians have been forced to flee from their homes, Rohingya Muslims are also being uprooted. They are being killed and their homes burnt and demolished,” said Dr. Ilyas.

He expressed sorrow at the silence of Muslim nations over the plight of Rohingya Muslims. “It is really sad that 58 Muslim countries are not speaking on the issue, they are not pressing the United Nations to pass even resolutions.” He asked the Indian Government to respond to the tragedy. India should press Myanmar government to stop atrocities against Rohingya Muslims,” demanded Dr. Ilyas.

National Coordinator of Association for Protection of Civil Rights, Akhlak Ahmad termed the violence in Myanmar as the worst case of human rights violation. He criticized world human rights bodies for remaining tightlipped over the plight of Rohingya Muslims.  He  expressed anguish over the silence of Myanmar’s democratic activist Aung San SuuKyi on this issue.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2013 on page no. 1

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