Dhaka: The bloodshed in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims has forced nearly 90,000 people of the community to cross over to the neighbouring Bangladesh. However, it is not only the Rohingya Muslims who are facing the brunt.
Over 500 Hindus from the troubled areas of Myanmar have crossed over to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar ever since trouble started on August 25.
The bloodshed in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state was triggered by an attack on August 25 on dozens of police posts and an army base by Rohingya insurgents. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people.
Myanmar officials blamed Rohingya militants for the burning of homes and civilian deaths but rights monitors and Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh say the Myanmar army is trying to force Rohingya out with a campaign of arson and killings.
A delegation of Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad has visited the Ukhia Kutupalong area of Cox’s Bazar to inquire about Hindu families who have taken refuge in Bangladesh.
“It’s genocide, no matter who all are conducting it,” said Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad’s General Secretary Advocate Rana Das Gupta.
At least 53 bodies have washed up on Bangladesh shores in last five days. The dead are believed to have drowned while trying to flee Myanmar on boats.
HINDU VILLAGES BURNT, LOOTED
“They told me there are 86 Hindus among the dead in Rakhine. Their houses were been burnt, looted,” Rana Dasgupta said after meeting the refugees.
Ramani Sheel, 50, a Hindu from Rakhine, said his family had been living at Chikonchharhi village of Maungdaw for several generations. “Around 20 masked men attacked the village with sharp weapons and hacked many to death,” he said, adding that the attackers burnt down their houses before leaving.
Panicked at the attack, he fled with his wife and five children to Kutupalong, where an unregistered Rohingya refugee camp is situated.
Octogenarian Kalo Sheel from Dhenkibunia of Maungdaw said three Hindus were hacked to death in his village on the first day of the latest violence. He fled to Bangladesh along with seven others of his family.
Rana Dasgupta said the Myanmar government will have to create a suitable environment to let the displaced people return home. A prosecutor of the International Crimes Tribunal, he also demanded proper investigation by the United Nations into the latest situation in Rakhine. “The United Nations will have to take the responsibility of trying those involved in crimes against humanity as per the international law,” he said.