Foreign Policy Blogs

Is the International Community neglecting the Rohingya Hindus?

The Rohingya Muslims are not the only victims of the ethnic cleansing presently going on in Myanmar. Hindu homes are reportedly being burned and looted while the international community continues to only focus on the plight of Rohingya Muslims.

In recent days, the international community is outraged by the ethnic cleansing that is currently going on in Myanmar against the Muslims but has not focused as much on other communities that have been targeted. The recent spike of violence broke out on August 25, when militants attacked governmental forces. In response, the Myanmar government committed numerous crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch has released satellite imagery regarding 450 buildings being burned down in Rohingya neighborhoods, stressing: “The widespread destruction of urban areas in Maungdaw town suggests that Burmese security forces are not just attacking Rohingya Muslims in isolated villages.”

Following that, the UN has condemned Myanmar for committing “textbook ethnic cleansing” while estimating that 1,000 people by September 7 have been killed. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported that over 310,000 people have fled to Bangladesh. However, contrary to the perception in the West, the ethnic cleansing that is presently occurring is not entirely a case of Buddhist against Muslim violence. Numerous Hindus have also fallen victim to this conflict. Since August 25, over 500 Hindus have also fled to Bangladesh. At least 86 Hindus have been killed and over 200 Hindus have fled to the forests in recent days. Hindu homes are reportedly being burned and looted. And the crisis is only getting worse by the day.

Shipan Kumar Basu, the head of the Hindu Struggle Committee, claimed that the Hindu refugees in Bangladesh are not being taken care of properly and their plight is being ignored by the international community: “Hundreds of Rohingya Hindu Families have been butchered by the Rohingya Muslims but nobody cares about them. There have been cases of Rohingya Hindus being systematically and forcefully lured by Rohingya Muslims into bad marriages. They have killed many members of Hindu families. No government and no NGO has come forward to look into this crisis.”

A Hindu refugee described the murder of her husband: “They beat my husband. Then they took us to the mountains. They said that if you give us your gold, we won’t cut your husband. They then took all my gold and cut my husband. 8 people then took us to the camp to make us Muslim. They told us that you must become Muslim and marry. They said that the Hindu religion is not a religion. You worship ghosts. If you die, then you burn.” She claimed that it was the Muslim insurgents and not the Myanmar government that has targeted her: “The government army of Myanmar did not torture us. The government has taken responsibility for our brothers and sisters.”

Another Hindu refugee related that insurgents dressed in black barred him and his family from leaving their home: “They threatened to kill us.” A relative who went to his sons’ house with rice and food was murdered by the insurgents: “I agree to live in Bangladesh or India. We do not want to go back to Myanmar.” A woman named Promila has also become a refugee. All her family members of 8 persons have been butchered by extremists. Another woman named Anika is 6 months pregnant. Her family of 4 have also been killed. There is no trace of her husband.

However, the atrocities experienced by the Rohingya Hindus is not the only issue. According to Basu, the Rohingya Hindus that flee to Bangladesh are not getting the same level of good treatment that the Rohingya Muslim refugees receive: “My appeal to the Bangladeshi government is that they should not differentiate between religions and extend help to all. Sheikh Hasina is showing so much kindness to the Rohingya Muslims. Reports are leaking out of an Awami League offshoot having good relations with them. They also have links with the ISI in Pakistan. So, it is my assumption that the Awami League Party under Sheikh Hasina might have had a hand in the insurgency butchering Rohingya Hindus.”

While the international community is greatly disturbed by the plight of the Muslims in Myanmar, where are their tears for the Hindus that have been persecuted within the country? These kinds of atrocities should also be condemned by the international community. The Rohingya Hindus of Myanmar want to live in peace and harmony. The terrorist radicals must be stopped regardless which religion that they belong to. The crisis must be solved as soon as possible and all of the communities must live in peace and tranquility.