Thursday, 20 April 2017

Persecution of Rohingya Muslims Exposes the Predatory Character of Capitalism

-Anurag Pathak/ 19.4.2017


Centre is mulling over a proposal from J&K govenment to deport over 10,000 refugees belonging to Rohingya muslim community, living ‘illegally’ in the state. The issue has been deliberated at a high level meeting convened by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, with J&K Chief Secretary Braj Raj Sharma and Director General of Police SP Vaid attending. “The ministry is exploring ways and means to identify and deport the Rohingya Muslims from the state”, declared a Union Home Ministry official after the meet.

Not more than a week ago 12 huts habited by Rohingyas were gutted in a fire, inside a refugee camp in Jammu, that inhabits Rohingyas, leaving 4 of them were completely destroyed. The fire was widely acclaimed to be handiwork of the right wing communal elements, despite denial of authorities, as only few days ago the Jammu Chamber of Commerce had issued a statement threatening to “identify and kill all Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi immigrants settled in Jammu if they were not deported within a month”. Rakesh Gupta, president of the JCC, added that Rohingya refugees were “a possible human bomb and harbors to be used by militant organisations.” The president of the Chamber, a federation of over 100 traders organization, continued to mark Rohingyas as “criminals and drug traffickers disowned by their own country.”

The persecution and abuse of Rohingya muslims, continued for long, saw a sudden spurt, this year with ascendance of BJP-PDP alliance to power in the state, after 2014 state assembly elections.

In mid of February this year, the Jammu Kashmir National Panther Party (JKNPP), a right wing Fascist organisation in Jammu, has appealed to ‘clean’ the city from ‘Bangladeshi Muslims and Rohingyas’. The Party installed big hoardings on public crossings, with photographs of Party’s chairman Harsh Dev Singh and other political leaders asking the residents to ‘unite’ against the refugees to save the ethnic Dogra culture. The banner reads “let all Jammuites unite to save history, culture and identity of Dogras”.

The BJP-PDP government is silent on all this and has not registered even a single case against the provocateurs. The fascists are on their way of preparing a blueprint for another genocide. No media channels or newspapers have reported this open call for genocide.

As per J&K government data, out of 13,755 foreigners staying in the state on January 2017, 5743 are Rohingya muslims staying in Jammu and Samba districts, and 7690 Tibetans in Ladakh.

There are also other groups of refugees residing in different settlement camps. For example, the Hindus from West Pakistan to whom the government has already issued identity cards for settlement. No such cards are however issued to Rohingyas for no ostensible reason except their connection to muslim ancestory. The PDP, that poses itself in favour of muslims, has also not paid any heed to this apparent discrimination. In fact PDP itself has become a tool in the hands of the centre and BJP for this oppression.

The Rohingyas in Kashmir have migrated chiefly from Myanmar and few from Bangladesh, following their brutal persecution in the two countries by Islamist fundamentalists. They are often described as the world’s most ‘persecuted community’, even more than the Jews. In Myanmar, they are deprived of the right to free movement and higher education. They have been denied the citizenship right since the enactment of nationality law. They were not allowed to travel without official permission and were previously required to sign a commitment not to have more than two children. To this was added their subjection to routine forced labour. Their lands have also been confiscated by the military and given over to the Buddhist settlers coming from elsewhere in Myanmar.

The Western Coastal province of Rakhine state in Myanmar is the area where most of the Rohingyas are settled. They describe themselves as descendants of Arabs and are settled in Rakhine region for centuries. But the Myanmar government describes Rohingyas as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The series of this persecution dates back to 1970s when the tension between the Buddhists and Rohingyas was exploited by the military which later completely sided against the Rohingyas to win the support of majority of Buddhists to maintain their influence on the government. This was followed by a ruthless military repression upon Rohingyas, which resulted in large scale migration of Rohingyas to Bangladesh. In the course of journey many people belonging to the community lost their way and many have been drowned, no official estimates are available on this. Plans were again made for the repatriation but innumerable human right abuses in the refugee camps aborted this effort. 140,000 Rohingyas were left in IDP camps after communal riots in 2012.

Not more than a year ago, in 2016, the Myanmar military began a major crackdown in the villages of northern Rakhine state, which was densely populated by Rohingyas. In initial operations, dozens of people were killed and many were arrested. Casualties increased as the crackdown continued. Arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, gang rapes and even looting were carried out against Rohingyas. More than 100 of Rohingya people died in the crackdown by December 2016, and many fled Myanmar to take shelter in India and Bangladesh as refugees.

In late November, Human Rights Watch released satellite images that showed thousands of Rohingya houses in five villages torched by the security forces. During one incident in November the Myanmar military used helicopter gunships to shoot and kill the villagers.

Again in November 2016, a video was been released online showing how the security forces beat Rohingya muslims. Men and boys were forced to sit down with their hands behind their head, while they were beaten with batons and kicked. This forced the government to arrest four police officers.

On February 3, 2017, the office of United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report based on interviews with more than 2000 Rohingya refugees, exposing the abuses that included gang-rape, mass killing including that of children. Nearly half of the interviewers stated that their family members had been killed by the security forces. Half of the women stated that they have been raped or sexually assaulted.

The de-facto head of the government and Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi had denied almost all the allegations and stated in response : “show me a country without human right abuses”! Thus justifying her collaboration with the military in systematic ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas.

All this has been the root cause of migration of Rohingya muslims. The countries in which they have migrated, mainly India and Bangladesh, also consider them as burden on economy, despite the fact that the Rohingyas are engaged in many productive activities and are settled mainly in refugee camps only with no facilities.

On January 26,2017, Bangladesh government planned to relocate thousands of Rohingya muslims in Bangladesh, to a flooded island which has surfaced in 2015 in the Bay of Bengal to prevent them from ‘intermingling’ with Bangladeshi citizens. This plan drew many criticisms, to which a senior official of Bangladeshi Home Ministry said “if that place is not livable, the government will make it livable”.

The island on which Bangladesh Government is planning to deport the refugees is a virgin territory, vulnerable to the loot of pirates. Besides, the land remains submerged except winters. Despite of claim by the Bangladeshi government to make it ‘liveable’, no such efforts have been made till date.

Hatred towards the Rohingyas is no less in India. Rohingyas say that the local people here have been kind to them. But the right wing organisations are bent upon to execute their ‘cleansing task’ by banishing the Rohingya refugees from the region. State president of Shiv Sena Dimpy Kohli and other party leaders made an appeal to the people of J&K, especially to the Hindus, to “wake up” and “unite” to “save the culture and identity of dogras”. The official approval to this ‘master plan’ came from the side of J&K’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in which she confirmed in Legislative Assembly that “17 FIRs have been registered against 38 Rohingyas for various offences including those related to illegal border crossovers.”

The continuous persecution and abuse of Rohingyas everywhere in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India and its explicit approval by their respective governments is the living proof of the fact that all of these states represent but a predatory political character light miles away from civilization. Parallels in this regard can be drawn with savage persecution of the Jews in the first half of the last century or even today with Bangladeshi Muslims living in Assam and West Bengal and the refugees in Europe from the middle-east, Iraq, Syria and Libya

Any deportation of Rohingya muslims by the centre or the state government of J&K in India is inhuman and apparently laced with communal vice.

We oppose all such deportations and stand for unbridled freedom of people of the world to go and settle in any part of the world. We denounce the regime of visas, passports and nationalities. No people are refugees on the earth. Earth belongs to us all.

For more than half century, the global capitalism, the capitalist powers and the national states under them have utterly failed in solving the issue of refugees. On the contrary the number of men and women with no land, is on sharp increase with ever new displacements by predatory wars and violence over the globe. Capitalism can only add to these numbers and it is adding. It cannot solve the refugee crisis but would only compound it with new supplies.

Only a world socialist revolution that wipes out the national frontiers, destroys the bourgeois national states and resultantly all wars and bloodshed, would make the earth livable for all. Only viable answer to refugee crisis, that only socialism can give, is that there be no refugee on the earth and the planet earth belongs to us all.

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