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A message for peaceful co-existence in Rakhine State, Myanmar

By U Kyaw Min
RB Opinion
March 16, 2014

17th century Rakhine court bard shah Alaol’s works say: revering to the sword of Justice (of the king) the lamb and the tiger meet peacefully and drink water together at the same (ghat) water. That is Muslim and Rakhine were at peace. But today Rakhine are furiously hostile to Muslims.

On 3rd March 2014, RNDP declaration on Rohingya and census process is very ridiculous and in contrast to legal points. 

First: RNDP said Rohingya should not be enumerated because they are illegal immigrants. But census law says every one found in the country on census processing days must be counted, no matter they are citizen or not. 

Second: RNDP said they will not accept the term Rohingya. Instead Bangali must be their identity. But census law and immigration minister say it is every one’s Legal right and Human Right to claim his or her own ethnicity. 

Thirdly: RNDP is threatening that more possible violence in Rakhine state will occur. That means Rohingya and the Gov must surrender to their intimidation. In fact a community has no right to deny the other’s ethnicity and other basic rights. 

Let me send the message that Rohingya’s historicity is as old as the Rakhine history itself. In no way they are illegal immigrants. What history says: 

1. Many official historical records say there were Muslims is Rakhine since Wethali period, i.e. before 11th century. (See BSPP. Publication: ethnic people and culture, Rakhine, 1982, P.149-150

2. Prominent Rakhine politician Bon Pauk Tha Kyaw analyzed three categories of Muslims in the time of Bodaw Pya’s rule (Burmese period 1785-1825), in his anti Rohingya treatise: “The danger of Rohingya in the Union, 1990”. 

He classified; 
First group who remained in Rakhine. 
Second group who fled to British Bengal. 
Third group who were taken away to Burma by the conquering army. 

(This is the proof of Muslim presence in 18th century.

3. The most revered monk: Rakhine Sayadaw in his “Danyawaddy Arey Daw Bon” writes: In the time of AnuLunMin, Loungkyat period, (a captive Kala (Muslim) ) prince from Maukthuza (Bengal) was made lord of Sittwe and his followers were employed in various hard labor ; altogether they were 42000 (forty two thousand). 

Again that treatise says, there were thousands of Mussalman Kalas brought as war captives from Begal in the time of king Minn Htee (13th century) 

In the reign of Mark-U kings Minn Phlaung, Minn Khamaung and Minn Raza Gyi there were thousands of Kala (Muslim) armed force personnel in the Rakhine army. 

4. Dr. Jacques Leider, an expert on Rakhine history who tries to protect Rakhine version of history recently mentioned 30000 deportees from Bengal during Sirsudhammaraja’s (1622-38) rule and another 30000 craft men were brought from Chattagramma and settled in Rakhine plains in the time of king Nara Patti (1645-52).These are undeniable evidences of Muslim settlement before colonial period. 

It is J. Leider in his research papers mentioned: 

1. The Bengal Patan army of ten thousand who came to enthrone deposed Rakhine king Nara meikla in 1428 were settled around Mrauk-U for its defence. 

2. There was a special Muslim provincial administrator besides, four others during Myanmar rule.(1785-1824) 

3. It is he who brought into light the records of Bengali and Persian as official languages (the writing languages of Rohingya) in Rakhine court. He also said Rakhine court milieu studied and practised above languages 

4. It is he who said there were Muslim combatant leaders like Zanu who fought agianst the early British occupation along with other Rakhine compatriots. 

That all Muslims (Rohingya) are illegal Immigrants as in RNDP’s statement is an illusion and racist’s exposure of RNDP .Myanmar Gov should stop this sort of racial incitement in the country. The study of census reports from Rakhine reign up to today shows there is no increase but decrease in Muslim population in Rakhine .So the accusation of illegal immigrants is false and baseless. 

Let us not fight amongst our selves, but find ways to live peacefully together as we did in Rakhine king’s period.

U Kyaw Min is chairman of Democracy and Human Rights Party based in Yangon, Myanmar.

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