A Short History of Rohingya Muslims

A Short History of Rohingya Muslims

The Rohingya, a people of South Asian origin, dwelled in an independent kingdom in Arakan, now known as Rakhine state in modern-day Myanmar.

The Rohingya came into contact with Islam through Arab traders. Close ties were forged between Arakan and Bengal.

In 1784, The Burman King Bodawpaya conquered Arakan and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to Bengal.

Britain captured Burma and made it a province of British India. Workers were migrated to Burma from other parts of British India for infrastructure projects.

Japan invaded Burma, pushing out the British. As the British retreated, Burmese nationalists attacked Muslim communities who were governed by British colonial rule.

Britain re-captured Burma from Japanese occupation with help of Burmese nationalists led by Aung San. Rohingyas felt betrayed as the British didn’t fulfill a promise of autonomy for Arakan.

Tensions increased between the government of newly independent Burma and the Rohingya, many of whom wanted Arakan to join Muslim-majority Pakistan.

The government retaliated by ostracizing the Rohingya, including removing Rohingya civil servants.

General Ne Win and his Burma Socialist Programme Party seized power and took a hard line against the Rohingya.

The junta began Operation Nagamin, or Dragon King, which they said was aimed at screening the population for foreigners.

More than 200,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, amid allegations of army abuses. The army denied any wrongdoing.

Bangladesh struck a U.N.-brokered deal with Burma for the repatriation of refugees, under which most Rohingya returned.
A new immigration law redefined people who migrated during British rule as illegal immigrants. The government applied this to all Rohingya.

More than 250,000 Rohingya refugees fled what they said was forced labor, rape and religious persecution at the hands of the Myanmar army.

Around 230,000 Rohingya returned to Arakan, now known as Rakhine, under another repatriation agreement.

Rioting between Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists killed more than 100 people, mostly Rohingya. Tens of thousands of people were driven into Bangladesh.

Tens of thousands of people were driven into Bangladesh. Nearly 150,000 were forced into camps in Rakhine.

Scores of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh because of a military crackdown in Myanmar and Burmese extremists burning Rohingya villages.

Some of the Rohingya were shot as they tried to cross the border, while others arriving by boat were pushed away by Bangladeshi border guards.

The situation is now very intense in what has been described as a genocide and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.

Rohingya’s have often been called the most persecuted minority in the world, unable to claim citizenship in Myanmar, or in any other country.

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