Govt Complains to Bangladesh Over Rohingya Op-ed

A makeshift Rohingya camp in Arakan State last year. (Photo: Reuters)

Burma’s government has been irked by a recent op-ed in a Bangladeshi newspaper suggesting that Rohingya-majority parts of Arakan State should hold a referendum on whether to secede from Burma.

State-owned media reported that the government summoned the Bangladeshi Ambassador on Monday to hand over a memo expressing Naypyidaw’s displeasure over the opinion piece, which appeared in the Dhaka Tribune on March 20.

The President’s Office director Zaw Htay told The Irrawaddy that it was important that the government reacted to last week’s op-ed as it touched upon the ongoing inter-communal tensions between the Muslim minority and Buddhist population in Arakan State.

“The stability of our state outweighs the freedom of the expression of foreign media writing about our domestic affairs,” he said. “The conflict in Rakhine [Arakan] State is still in a sensitive condition and we do not want any public anxiety on the ground because of the article,” Zaw Htay added.

In strife-torn Arakan State, tensions remain high between Rohingya Muslims and Arakanese Buddhists, after recurrent outbursts of inter-communal violence since 2012 have displaced 140,000 people, mostly Muslims, and left almost 200 dead.

Bangladeshi journalist Zeeshan Khan claimed in the Dhaka Tribune op-ed that Crimea’s recent attempt to secede from Ukraine through a Russia-backed referendum—widely condemned as flawed by European nations, the US and Japan—provides an example on how to resolve the inter-communal conflict in western Burma.

The writer argued that Arakan’s Sittwe and Maungdaw districts could vote to secede from Burma in order to join Bangladesh’s Chittagong Division. Further down in the article, he adds another alternative into the mix by suggesting “they should have the option of forming an independent country between Bangladesh and Myanmar.”

Arakan State has been part of the Union of Burma since independence in 1947, prior to which the region was part of the British Raj, a colonial empire administration that included India, modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, and Burma.

The stateless Muslim minority call themselves Rohingya and say they have lived in northern Arakan State for generations, and are therefore entitled to Burmese citizenship.

Burma’s government, however, denies the group citizenship and terms them “Bengalis,” to suggest most are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The UN and international researchers accuse the government of large-scale human rights violations against the Muslim group and of backing the local Buddhist community during outbursts of inter-communal violence.

In recent months, nationalist Buddhist monks of the 969 movement of U Wirathu have been raising these tensions by spreading anti-Muslim messages in Arakan and fanning fears of a takeover of Burma by South Asian Muslims.

The inter-communal conflict in Arakan State is highly sensitive in Burma and the recent article drew some angry reactions on Burmese social media sites and in local media outlets.

Mya Aye, an 88 Student Generation leader and Muslim, said in a reaction on his Facebook page “the article is just incitement and inflames the current racial and religious conflicts in Burma.”

“I want to tell the writer that we, the Islam in Burma, have never betrayed our country and are not accepting any kind of violence or terror acts and strongly object to any outside interference,” he wrote.

The Myanmar Journalists Association, for its part, also condemned the article saying it “intends to incite religious and racial hatred and conflicts in Myanmar, violates journalistic ethics, interferes in Myanmar’s domestic affairs and infringes on Myanmar’s sovereignty.”

In the past, Bangladesh has been forced to accept Rohingya refugees on to its territory after Burma’s then-military junta launched army operations in northern Arakan in the late 1970s and early 1990s that set hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas fleeing across the border.

The group is also not welcome in Bangladesh, however, and in the late 1990s Burma’s government agreed to let many return to Arakan State.

11 Responses to Govt Complains to Bangladesh Over Rohingya Op-ed

  1. Quite interesting! Burmese Government complained to Bangladesh for OP-ED. It is only from a Journalist and an opinion. I am sure Rohingya people will not like his writing. But on the other hand Burmese Government is forcing to swallow the bitter pills ( Bengali ) to these people and Bangladesh has never complained directly to Burmese Government for that. Rohingyas are taking extreme risky way to fled from Rakhine extremists atrocities to Malaysia via Thailand.

  2. Time and time again, I have given the warning to the Burmese government and general public not to harbor the racist attitude towards Moslem brothers. Recent Crimea debacle is a good lesson for Burma to learn. Ko Mya Aye rightly said that as a Moslem, he will never betray Burma and people. Why? because he was loved by the people of Burma for his great sacrifice for democracy. We need to build friendship and trust with the Moslem Rohingya. The study done by the leading university in USA and western democracy outline the racial harmony as a best practice to have peace and happiness among the people. If the Rohingya feels happy as a citizen in Burma with the acceptance of local folks, then it is up to them to respect the culture and tradition of Burmese. Burmese have to respect their practice for mutual respectfulness. The Rule of Law and democracy will create the happy family of Burma. No Moslem of Rohingya will think to secede from Burma. Bangladesh will not dare to write such article again. Have you ever seen a happy kids ran away from the family home? Please tell me.

  3. If I were President or Commander in Chief of Military in Burma and then I will order army to retake Chittagong Hill Tracts from Bangladesh.
    Chittagong Hill Tracts was historically part of Rakhine Kingdom and territory of Rakhine land.

    The idiot stupid British Colony Government had rewarded CHT to East Pakistan (Bangladesh)for their loyal slave service to United Kingdom.
    There’s no justification for British Colony Government to given away the land belong to other Nation for to create new Islamic Country.

    British Government has responsible for to return occupied Burma territory once they have left Burma.

    To day, most of Bangladeshis do not understand how their country Bangladesh was born. They don’t have any knowledge of true history of Bangladesh. Only Bangladesh was becoming known as nation because their Papa idiot British Government was good for its slave.

    India and Bangladesh have major benefactor on British Colonization in Asia especially India got away with parcel of territories which are India never belong to.

    Bangladesh has fully responsible welfare of former and current its citizens who are living illegally in Rakhine state.

    I also call for descendent of Burmese ethnics who are indigenous peoples of CHT to against Muslim rule in their homeland and come back and reunited with mother land.

    Chittagong Hill Tracts was not belonging to Bangladesh or India. British took away Chiitagong Hill Tract (Rakhine), Assam, Manipur, Cachar and Jaintia from Burma after Burma lost first Anglo-Burmese War in 1726.

    Peoples of Assam and Manipur are not Indian ethnic but only their king was converted to Hindu Religion.

    British Colony Government in India had directly governed on Assam, Manipur and CHT from India.After that the British Colony Government had Indianized all native peoples of CHT, Assam and Manipur during its colony rule.

    Here learn a few piece of history here but it’s just small piece of history.

    The native peoples of Assam and Manipur must remember their true ethnic identity, culture, language and history. They must demand independent from India because India does not belong to your states.

    Burmese Government and Military must support moral encourage and weapons to Rebel Armies who are fighting for Independent from India in Assam and Manipur state.

    I want to see CHT, Assam and Manipur becoming one independent nation together because they deserve it. If they want to come back to Burma once Burma was developed fully democracy nation and then they can be reunited with Burma.

    Bangladeshi Government must repatriate its Citizens who are living illegally in Burma.

    Why don’t UN relocate illegal Bengali migrant from Burma to one of Andaman Islands?

    Bengalis are Indian ethnic. They should be resettled on one of Andaman Islands.
    Also Andaman Islands were planned by British Government for resettlement for Anglo-India and Anglo-Burmese peoples from its Colony countries once British leaves India and Burma.

    Now UN should think about resettlement plan for illegal Bengali migrants from Burma to Andaman Island.


    Burma’s internal issues of ethnic unrest is not its internal problem anymore, for it causes serious problems to its neighbors as well. Most of all Bangladesh in the West and Thailand in the East suffer from Burma’s refugee influx in those two countries. In 1978 Bangladesh received about 200,00 Rohingya refugees who carried NRC cards. Burma accepted back these refugees. Then in 1082, Burma passed its citizenship law declaring Rohingya as the non citizens of Burma. In 1992-93, it forced out another 300,000 Rohingya people to Bangladesh. Many of them left for other countries and some are still living in Bangladesh. The influx still continues. When a country due to its internal problems sends out refugees to another country, journalists and scholars of the effected countries are naturally drawn to find solutions to the problem.

    Most of Burma’s anti Rohingya policies were enacted during the military dictator Ne Win’s time. Even with the quasi military civilian government it didn’t go away but intensified to the level of genocide and desperate Rohingya people taking the sea to reach to some safe shores.

    Burma’s behavior sending refugees to Bangladesh has crossed its tolerable limits. It is no more a cute behavior by the generals in civilian uniform. On the other hand depriving its citizens their citizenship due to their racial differences, is criminal. Under the circumstances, a Bangladeshi journalist has every right to show concerns to the behavior of a country causing nuisance to his country and show probable solutions to the conflict. In Burma, the press freedom is still limited, then lashing out to condemn a country’s ambassador for the view of a concerned citizen of that country is truly undemocratic and condemnable.

  5. The stupid is what the stupid does. This idiot bangladeshi ambassador ‘ s article can spark the outburst of the rakhines to kick all the Bengali people out of myanmar. If it happens soon, the rakhines must not be blamed.

  6. Illegal Bengalis are trouble makers and very serious threat to our country.

  7. The whole ethnicities of of Myanmar must unite without question first. Then, the government must give them history education of our past and present. Then encourage youths to engage martial arts and the study of the arts of war.

    I abhor war and I’m pro peace as long as I can choose the alternative. However, if we have no choice, to stop the injustice is to annihilate the trouble makers.

    In fact, we should collectively reclaim our Shinmaphyu island that was given to India by the British Colonialist when they gave India her independence in 1947. Shinmaphyu island is ours, not theirs.

  8. Myanmar goverment says on one hand that Rohingiyas are not our people then says that this is our domestic problem, Remember if these oppressed people do not get their rights, we muslims will not just sit back and watched them murdered by you heartless people, And Myat Aye dont be hypocrat and dont butter up these fanatic buddists, these rascals do not believe in no system but hatred any one who believe that these buddists are kind people are deceving them self. WE say in Urdu LAATON K BHOOT BAATON SAY NAHI MAANTE. When going get though lets get though too. Last but not least these bastered are not brave enough.

  9. Bengladesh is not like myanmar who controls media. It is a free country.

  10. There is no Rohingya minority in Myanmar. So called Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Like any other sovereign nation Myanmar will never allow illegal immigrants to set foothold on its soil or grab land by secession.

    It’s the Chakma and Marma Buddhists of Chittagong Hill Tracts who deserve Crimea style referendum. During the partition of India in 1947, 98.5% of the population was non-Muslim. Yet British granted Chittagong Hill Tracts to Muslim Pakistan against the very principle of partition and and against the will of the native people. On 15 August 1947, native Buddhists in CHT hoisted Burmese flags. Few days later Pakistan Army invaded CHT and lowered Burmese flag at gun point.

    Chakma and Marma Buddhists of Chittagong Hill Tracts were never given the right to determine for themselves unlike the people of Sylhet, Sindh, Baluchistan, North West Frontier Province, Assam and so on. I am sure majority will support secession from Bangladesh and like to join Myanmar.

  11. The Bangali journalist Zeeshan Khan is actually a Bangladesh military agent. He has reflected in his article the sentiment of the sinister plan of Bangladesh military which after making the Chittagong Hill Tracts by pushing illegal plainland Bengalis destabilized in terms of ethnicity, now eyes at parts of Myanmar. The target of socalled rohingya islamist militants has also been joining part of Rakhine State into Bangladesh. To do this they have artificially hijacked the Bengali name of Rohingya, which in actuality means a person from Rakhine, be a Buddhist or any other religion. In fact Rohingya and Mogh are synonymous. The comment in the Dhaka Tribune is not surprising or unexpected because a section of Bangladesh military has been trying to carve a greater Muslim Bangla including parts of Burma and Northeast India, as a inherited policy from the erstwhile East Pakistan administrators. To boost up the adjoining areas of Burma and India with Muslim majority, they have secretly pushed in their illegal citizens by all available means and has been crying ‘victim’ to their illegal population planted in the neighbourhood. Burma, if fails to understand and take timely measures to stop any further incursion by the Bengali Muslim xenophobes, will have a very serious end. The snatching away of part of Bay of Bengal that was owned by successive Rakhine kingdom, and Burmese government’s inaction and failure at the international tribunals only has accelerated the dream of these xenophobes. The international campaign for the Bengali speaking socalled Muslim Rohinygas also has deeprooted designs which the international community has been forced to gulp down, hook, line and sinkers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.