When the assumed name of the self-identifying race, which was never heard of before in the Rakhine State, first emerged in 1969/70, it was linked to an underground movement group. Their objective was to take up arms and fight to liberate the border areas of that region to create a Muslim enclave to accommodate the overflow of illegal migrants, who had been sneaking in for centuries from the East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Their objective was similar to that of the Mujahideen rebellion of the 1948-1961.
I had time and again mentioned how that organization known as the “ Muslim Independence Revolutionary Front” (RMIRF) was uncovered as a result of an anonymous tip off and the leader and some members were apprehended and jailed. At that time the authorities in Sittway, deduced that their aim was to continue the cause of the failed Mujahideen rebellions.
Soon after the RMIRF was uncovered, I asked some Rakhine town elders, including a well known retired lawyer in Sittway, who obtained a Barrister at Law degree from England, whether they know who those self-identifying people were. None of them knew or had ever heard of that name before. This fact alone was concrete enough to prove that there wasn’t such a race that ever existed in the Rakhine area. Thus it was just an adopted name for a purpose. As that organization was nipped in the bud and not much publicized in those days, you may not be able to find any record of the existence of that failed organization.
That self-identifying name went into obscurity for a while until 1974, when the pan-Islamic movements in the world was on the rise, it reemerged as an armed group by the name RPF-patriotic front. It was formed with the remnants of the earlier failures.That group splintered into many small armed factions, the most radical was the “Rohingya Solidarity Organization” (RSO). The RSO split again and gave rise to the “Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front” (ARIF) armed group. All of the above mentioned armed groups were mostly based in the border areas in the neighbouring country. Then recently the “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” (ARSA) emerged. At this juncture, it would be necessary to know their latest stance. They claimed that they belonged to an ethnic race of Myanmar whose ancestors had dwelt in the Rakhine area since the 8th century. If the date they claimed was true, their ancestors couldn’t be Muslims. Those people who migrated into those regions were Bengali from the East Bengal of India. Thus they would be either Hindus or Buddhists by faith as those were the only two major religions of those people in those days, years before the spread of Islam to that region.
The Islam religion hadn’t spread to those region of India until the early 9th century. However, with the support of the Muslim communities from nearly all over the world and some Western countries, they managed to build a large and effective propaganda and lobbying network around the world.
The latest mass exodus of people, who are trying to flee to the neighbouring country are undoubtedly lured by ARSA terrorists with false propagandas, threats and promises.
The majority of the boat peoples who sought refuge in some countries in the region and also in the West were not from Myanmar but they were posing as residents of Myanmar and some illegal migrants from inside Myanmar. They also posed as an ethnic race of Myanmar who were being discriminated, persecuted, and unfairly denied recognition as an ethnic race or were denied the rights to citizenships.
Their ploy worked in the beginning as the international communities and even the UN organizations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) fell for their deceits. Most of them managed to get settled in third countries as refugees with the help of the UN organizations. However, when the flow of fleeing boat peoples never ceased, those countries which accepted them as refugees before, refused to do anymore. Here, I would like to suggest that the responsible organizations under the UN should make an actual list of those people who they had resettled or placed in refugee holding camps in some countries. I’m sure they will find that the numbers would be so large that they would be unrealistic to believe to have come from the Rakhine State alone. In the meantime their intensive lobbying had garnered much attentions, sympathies and support, especially from the rich Muslim countries, in the form of finance, morale supports and military trainings. Also the INGOs and the biased UN rapporteurs lent hands to their cause. The 2012 riots was not an accidental one as in the past, which I had witnessed while serving in the Sittway District in 1968-70, but was intentionally staged to get the international attentions. The unthoughtful and unwise responses from our public made us the villains in the eyes of the world community and their stance worked in their favours. Our country drew much criticisms, condemnations and was ridiculed as an oppressive country. In my opinion, that riot was part of their plan to get more sympathy from abroad and paint ugly images of our people and country. If that should be the case, they were very successful, because seasoned and well known militants from some Muslim countries came to their support.
I presumed the first simultaneous coordinated attacks in October 2016 on some border police outposts in Maungtaw, Buthitaung and Rathedaung were to test their strengths and the fighting abilities of their newly trained men. However, the latest assaults in late August 2017, which were carried out under a new name—ARSA, seemed to be more meticulously planned to inflict as much destructions as possible. They were designed to create reign of terror to frighten away the people to flee to the other country. Their supporters falsely alleged our country of harassments and high-handedness in carrying out the law enforcement security measures. In reality, the ARSA terrorists are the real perpetrators. They went on rampage killing, and burning their own houses. Those murdered included many of their own kind, who they suspect of collaborating with the authorities. During those rampages they also killed many innocent Hindus, including men, women and children from some villages in the Maungtaw area. There were many Hindus still missing. They forced eight Hindu women to convert to Islam and were taken along with them as they retreated to the neighbouring country.
These ARSA terrorists are not only cruel or brutal, but also evil or wicked and cunning. They massacred the Hindus in Northern Rakhine to put the blame on the law enforcement personnels. It was another wicked plan of theirs, which was to divide the peace-loving Hindus, who are of the same race as them and the ethnic Rakhines. Their recent labeling of the Hindus as Rohingya Hindus, which they never did before, was quite evident of the change in their stance again; to put a wedge between the Hindus and Rakhine Buddhists to create a divide. The Myanmar Hindu Organization publicly rejected and denounced their move.
The latest mass exodus of people, who are trying to flee to the neighbouring country are undoubtedly lured by ARSA terrorists with false propagandas, threats and promises. This could be their latest tactics or stance to make the situations become more confusing and complicated. I hope the responsible persons at the UN and leaders from the West would be intelligent enough to see their intentions and not fall for their deceits again. Also the fact that many stateless Bengali from Pakistan, who were not native to our country, but calling themselves by that self-identifying name, were involved in the recent fightings was concrete indication of their intentions to create an Islamic State in the region, for the stateless Bengali.
(This article solely represents the opinion of the author.)