YANGON — Two of the largest Hindu organizations in Myanmar condemned Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacks that claimed the lives of residents in Rakhine State including Hindu people, and urged the community to maintain amity and avoid hatred of followers of other faiths.
The All Myanmar Hindu Central Council, an umbrella association of Hindu groups across the country, and Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh, one of country’s prominent Hindu organizations, released a joint statement at a prayer ceremony for Hindu victims in Rakhine State held in Yangon on Sunday.
“In the worst circumstance, many Hindu villagers, including children, were brutally murdered and mutilated. Some Hindu women were kidnapped to a neighboring country with the alleged purpose of deceiving the international community and forceful religious conversion. For such actions, we strongly condemned the ARSA,” the statement read.
Hundreds from the Hindu community prayed for the victims and expressed condolence for the family members.
“We view this incidence as an organized terrorist attack [by the ARSA] on innocent civilians, not as a religious conflict between the two religions and so we urge our followers to maintain amity and avoid hatred with followers of all the other faiths,” the statement read.
The groups also objected to the term “Rohingya Hindu” used by some international media and asked for it not to be used.
“The term never existed in the history of Hindus in Myanmar,” U Hla Htun, a Hindu religious leader and the coordinator of Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh, told The Irrawaddy.
Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported “Rohingya Hindus now face uncertainty in Myanmar” on September 21 and Bangladesh-based Dhaka Tribune reported “Who really attacked the Rohingya Hindus in Rakhine?” on October 1.
U Ragu Nay Myint of the central council said at the ceremony, “We noticed the usage of the term in international media. We would let them know that there is no such in Myanmar Hindu community.”
U Hla Htun told The Irrawaddy that the groups announced that they condemn the international organizations and international media who are making unbalanced reporting of the events and turning a blind eye to violent acts on local people by terrorists.
“They are talking like only the Rohingya were attacked when actually, our Hindu people were also murdered and attacked,” he said.
The All Myanmar Hindu Central Council and Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh also called the government to restore law and order in the region urgently, saying they would collaborate with the government on any immediate or long-term rehabilitation works for the Hindus in Rakhine State.