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SIO AP demands restoring Rohingya while Suu Kyi visits India

True Democracy cannot be achieved without inclusiveness – India’s model has always respected diversity : SIO AP

Nobel laureate and Myanmar’s opposition leader Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi during her visit to India is expected to visit Papasanipalli in Anantapur and interact with various self help groups. She is considered to be an icon for reconciliation and the process of democratisation in her country. During her Nehru Memorial lecture, Ms. Suu Kyi admired the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru and considered them to be her inspiration in striving for a democratic Myanmar. She said that the lasting friendships should be based on people and not governments which come and go.

Students Islamic Organisation of India considers Ms. Suu Kyi’s visit as a positive step in strengthening the relations between two neighbours. However, we are disappointed by her continuous silence and ambivalent attitude towards a section of her compatriots known as Rohingyas who mainly live in Rekhine province, said the president of AP Zone, Dr. M. Atif Ismail. The Rohingya muslims have been termed the most persecuted religious minority in the world by the United Nations. The situation cannot be simply neglected considering it to be a communal clash. The whole world has been witness to the state sponsored ethnic cleansing in the region.

Under a highly questionable law passed in 1982 by the Burmese military government, Rohingyas were deprived of their nationality unless they prove that their forefathers were living in Burma back in 1832, which is a most oppressive law found anywhere in the world. Since last year, they are being attacked, their villages burnt and they are forced to live in refugee camps within Burma or flee to other countries. As a result of this exodus, now there are large groups of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia. This is a matter of shame for Myanmar as well as a matter of serious concern for the region. The Burmese government has systematically persecuted the Rohingya Muslims for years, stripping them of their basic rights & subjecting them to lives of poverty & oppression. Though ongoing violence against the community has attracted attention from international human rights groups, little has been done to ensure their basic rights, as the state itself is responsible for their persecution. The international community cannot ignore the plight of Burmese Muslims. Recently, even the proposal by the OIC to establish its office in Burma was rejected which was meant for providing basic aid to the people of the region.

Over a thousand asylum-seekers from Myanmar are camping since mid-April on footpaths near the office of the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi. Hundreds are still waiting for help in the slums of Calcutta, Banglore and Hyderabad. Ms. Kyi’s fight for democracy will remain incomplete as long as such a large number of persecuted people live within her own country. 

SIO demands that the Rohingya population must be granted Burmese citizenship and equal rights, and their religious freedom must be protected. We urge the government of India to call for restrictions to be lifted in the Arakan state and assure a safe way back for the refugees staying in various cities of India.

We expect that Ms. Suu Kyi will stop neglecting the plight of her own countrymen and help the international aid agencies to work in Burma without any restrictions.

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