‘Suu Kyi should ensure citizenship to Rohingya’

U.A. Khader  

The plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has evoked so much criticism across the globe and Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar, has been accused of turning a blind eye towards the rights of the minority population. U.A. Khader, Sahitya Akademi award-winning Malayalam writer, who was born at Bilin in Mon State of the then Burma, says the onus is on Ms. Suu Kyi to take steps to give citizenship rights to the Rohingya.

He told The Hindu here on Saturday that the Rohingya don’t have any documents to prove their nationality. Most of them are poor and illiterate labourers. “They don’t know whom to approach to address their grievances. As their culture is distinct from the local Buddhist population, no kind of mingling has happened over years,” he said. Added to this is what could be described as the “supremacist nature” of the Buddhists in the country, they are left in the lurch.

Mr. Khader said that the Rohingya, residents of Rakhine State on the border of what is now Bangladesh, came to today’s Myanmar during the British rule to build the capital city of Rangoon. The British ruled the then Burma as an Indian province. But the native population never considered them as their own. After the country gained independence, their migration was considered illegal and they were denied citizenship rights. There was a nationalist feeling too which worked against them.

“It is sad that the followers of Buddha, who practice non-violence, are torturing the Rohingya. Even the makeshift shelters they construct were being destroyed. Where will they go?” Mr. Khader said that the Burmese population, especially Ms. Suu Kyi, should take a humanitarian view of the issue and help them. However, he said the world leaders were unlikely of any help because of diplomatic reasons. “Myanmar is a mineral rich country and it has oil reserves too. There was a time when even cereals were imported from that country. I presume Ms. Suu Kyi is forced to take a stand against the Rohingya due to the pressure from her followers, who are not even ready to accept their existence there.”

Mr. Khader suggested that the Rohingya should either be rehabilitated in vacant land in nearby countries or Ms. Suu Kyi should follow the democratic principles of her father to accommodate them in Rakhine State itself.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 10:27:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/suu-kyi-should-ensure-citizenship-to-rohingya/article19652119.ece

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