Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

Rohingya Muslims are fleeing their native land in the fear of bullets or deaths. They are mostly fleeing to the neighbouring country Bangladesh and many of them are present in India as well. India has already discussed that the Rohingyas will be sent back. However, the question that often tickles the mind that why Rohingyas’ are not considered a citizen of Myanmar? As Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi said that it is like Kashmir of India, is that the case? Well, the case of Northern Rakhine is different altogether.

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As per the law of Myanmar, famously known as 1982 Citizenship Law, a person of any ethnic whose trace of residence in Myanmar (Previously Burma) is before 1823 is considered a Full Citizen of Myanmar. The person would enjoy all the rights in the country and has the privileges. Major groups that feature in this list are Burman, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, and others. However, the Rohingyas do not feature in the list. An extended list of 135 more ethnicities was released by the Myanmar Government in 1990 and even then Rohingya Muslims were not considered. The primary reason was the 1823 deadline. According to Myanmar Government, Rohingyas were deported by the British India to the land of Burma since 1826. Hence, they are not citizens. They obviously do not get rights to education, health, job and other basic needs as they are not full citizens. In simple words, Rohingyas’ are stateless in their own state. Well, that is a discrimination that Myanmar does not accept.

REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Is it because they are Muslims? It is interesting to know that Myanmar does have Thai Muslims and they have a better equation with Government. But not the Rohingyas. They are generally termed as “Bengali” in Myanmar, even though they do not speak the Bengali language as such. They have different language and time and again, they have been given temporary scrutiny cards to stay in Myanmar. After the military rule ended in Myanmar, they were promised National Scrutiny card, but they never received it.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army or ARSA was formed long back. This is a militant group that fights against the Myanmar Army to fight the cause of Rohingyas. There have been many clashes and people from both sides have died. There has been riots and man slaughters as well. International community terms this as ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. However, the government denies it. The refugees are flooding the neighbouring Bangladesh state and adjoining countries like India. There has to be a permanent solution to it and the Myanmar Government cannot really extend this for long as the situation is slipping away from hands now.