Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar living mainly in Rakhine State on western coast. They practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. The radical Buddhist nationalists of Myanmar have refused citizenship to the Rohingyas. Most Rohingyas are not qualified to be citizens of Myanmar as per the 1982 Citizenship Law, which was promulgated by the erstwhile military junta. The Rohingya see themselves as Muslim natives of Arakan (Rakhine), a state in Myanmar. The Rohingya people are considered as stateless entities. Rohingyas have often been called the most persecuted minorities in the World.The government sees them as Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh who migrated there during the colonial period. Bengali Muslims in Bangladesh and India do not see the Rohingya as their kin in any respect.
While democracy was restored in Myanmar some years ago, a further consolidation will remain a difficult task. Nobel peace laureate and Foreign Minister Ms. Aung San SuuKyi, has failed to use any moral pressure to secure humanitarian assistance for the systematically persecuted Rohingya.
Rohingyas are fleeing their homes due to rising insurgency. The issue of migration happened due to a military crackdown in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The UN human rights office said that Myanmar’s security forces had committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya Muslims and burned their villages. Bangladesh, which shares a 168-km border with Myanmar, has refused to accept more Rohingya refugees.
India has accepted thousands of Rohingyas over the past many years. Yet, this policy is already be undergoing some changes. Now, many Rohingyas are either turned away while trying to enter the country or sent to jail for illegal entry. Further, India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol which require countries to accept refugees.
The new bill of the Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, proposes that Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians entering India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan not be considered asillegal immigrants. While the proposed amendment is technically ‘pro-minority’, it isalleged as anti-Muslim refugees.
The Rohingya crisis, if it remains unsettled, can become a path toward radicalisation and pose a greater security threat for India. There are reports of increasing radicalisation among sections of the Rohingya community. A stable and democratic Myanmar will naturally gravitate towards India. India should use diplomacy to persuade Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis. India should hold discreet negotiations with Myanmar’s military, Ms. SuuKyi, Bangladesh and China in order to bring an end to the crisis.