Home > 2017 > Genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar: the Hindutva Imprints

Mainstream, VOL LV No 40 New Delhi September 23, 2017

Genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar: the Hindutva Imprints

Saturday 23 September 2017, by Shamsul Islam

Currently, one of the worst post-World War II genocides is underway in India’s neighbour-hood. In the Rakhine province of Myanmar (Burma), cleansing of people belonging to the Rohingya tribe (mostly Muslims and a few Hindus and Buddhists) has been going on for the last two decades. But this cleansing project of the Rohingyas is in full steam now by the Myanmar Army and foot-soldiers of the Fascist Buddhist organisations with the coming to power of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize recipient for fighting against the military rulers of the country. Ironically, this Nobel Laureate now supervises genocide of Rohingyas in collaboration with the country’s Army and fascist Buddhist cadres.

The rampaging killer/raping/maiming/burning gangs sponsored by the Burmese state, Army and fascist Buddhist organisations have evoked worldwide condemnation and severe repudiation from world forums including the UN. However, the Indian PM Modi, who visited Myanmar recently, instead of expressing concern on the cleansing of Rohingyas, expressed solidarity with the killer state. He and Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in a joint statement said:

“It is important to maintain security and stability along the long land and maritime borders of India and Myanmar...India stands with Myanmar over the issue of violence in the Rakhine state which has led to loss of innocent lives.”

This statement remained silent on the mass cleansing of the Rohingyas but expressed grave concern on the ‘terrorist’ activities of a section of Rohingyas in self-defence. In a more shocking development the RSS/BJP Indian Government has issued instructions to deport nearly 40,000 Rohingyas, who escaped to India while under attack, for being a security threat.

The inimical attitude of the Indian rulers towards the Rohingyas is neither accidental nor sudden. It does not seem to be the fall-out of some grave security threat which might have cropped up in the recent past. We need to investigate whether this cleansing got impetus with the political ascendancy of the fascist Buddhist organisations in Myanmar and fascist Hindutva organisations in India.

The world, obsessed with Islamist terrorism, has not bothered to take any notice of a new terrorism network developing fast in India and its neighbourhood between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and two ultra nationalist Buddhist groups of Myanmar and Sri Lanka against the minorities in the area. In a startling and focussed disclosure

The International New York Times

(October 16, 2014) in an editorial titled ‘Deadly Alliances Against Muslims’ disclosed how fascist Buddhist groups in the region, the Sri Lankan Buddhist group, Bodu Bala Sena, and Myanmar’s Wirathu Group 969 [run by Ashin Wirathu, a so-called monk from Myanmar who has been preaching hatred toward Muslims and is the spiritual leader of a move-ment to boycott Muslim businesses] were in contact “at a high level” with the Right-wing Indian Hindu group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to form what is called a “Hindu-Buddhist peace zone” in South Asia which means a Muslim-Christian free zone in the area. The editorial concluded with the following alarming words:

“It is folly for the governments of Mr Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar [both headed their respective countries in 2014] and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that has too often been convulsed by religious sectarian violence. They should condemn this mad alliance before it can spread further.”1

Though this network prioritises the Islamic/Muslim threat as its main concern, it also treats Christians and other ethnic minorities as dangers and wants to control them. They refuse to accept that this region was a multi-religious area. Ashin Wirathu is committed to get rid of Muslims and other minorities of the area. They have killed hundreds of Muslims, raped Muslim women, burned hundreds of mosques and destroyed a large number of Muslim properties and businesses.

For public consumption, the RSS has denied the claim of Gnanasara that they were in discussions “at a high level” with the Right-wing Indian Hindu group, Rashtriya Swayam- sevak Sangh. The RSS spokesman, Ram Madhav, promptly denied that there were any such discussions. But according to the NYT, Madhav, a senior RSS/BJP ideologue of India’s ruling oligarchy, “has written comments sympathetic to Bodu Bala Sena and Mr. Wirathu’s group 969 in Myanmar on his Facebook and Twitter accounts”. He lauded the plan of the “Hindu-Buddhist peace zone” in South Asia which means an area free of minorities, specially Muslims. In his posting [March 28, 2013 on Facebook] he agreed with the propaganda that

“The Muslim population in Sri Lanka is growing fast...There are mosques and madrassas sprouting everywhere in the country. A rough estimate suggests that of the 1.2 million Muslim population every 50 households have a mosque. In Colombo itself a new magnificent mosque is coming up, so are in many other places. Increasing number of burqa-clad women and skull cap-wearing men can be sited [sic] on the streets of Sri Lankan cities and towns now.” 

Ram Madhav also noted that Muslims in Sri Lanka have been insisting on halal products. He noted approvingly that

“the Bodu Bala Sena essentially talks about protecting the Buddhist culture of the country from foreign religions. By this it also means the Christian missionaries who are trying to convert people.”

He was happy to note that

“the Bodu Bala Sena has maintained that Hindus and Buddhists of the country should work together on these issues.”

He ended by commending:

“So far, the issues raked up by the BBS are worthy of active and sympathetic consideration. Bodu Bala Sena is able to capture the attention of the Buddhist population of Sri Lanka.” It was atrocious on the part of Ram Madhav, a leader of the ‘largest Hindu organisation in the world’, to overlook the fact that the Sri Lankan state in connivance with such Buddhist fascist organisations of Sri Lanka killed, raped and maimed lakhs of Hindu Tamils in the area. In one of the Tweets he wrote: “BODU BALA SENA—A NEW BUDDHIST MOVEMENT IN SRI LANKA Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)—a Buddhist organisation many wish”.

It is to be noted that the RSS has been historically close to the ruling military dictators in Myanmar who have encouraged characters like Ashin Wirathu to propagate hatred against minorities in the country. How close the RSS was to the military junta which now shares power with Aung San Suu Kyi can be known by the following report which appeared in the official organ of the RSS,

Organiser,

dated February 28-March 5, 2000:

“The 50th anniversary of the Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh (SDSS—the RSS’ counterpart in Burma) was held at the National Theatre on Mayoma Kyaung Street, Yagnon, recently. Secretary-2 of the State Peace and Development Council, Lt. Gen. Tin Oo, attended the meeting. The programme was attended by Ministers and senior military officers. Minister for Commerce, Brig. Gen. Pyi Sone; Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Maj. Gen. Sein Htwa; Minister for Health, Maj. Gen. Ket Sein were among the prominent persons who attended the function...The Secretary-2 delivered a speech at the function.” 

This report appeared with two photographs. In one photograph five military Generals, including the second in command of the military junta, Lt. Gen. Tin Oo, were seen standing on the stage in the midst of the SDSS leadership wearing khaki shorts. In the other photograph leading lights of the Burmese military junta were seen sitting in the front row of the auditorium.

This terrorist network exposed by the New York Times may have many other layers as was made clear by neo-Nazi mass murderer of Norway, Breivik, who glorified Indian ‘Hindu Nationalists’.2 He opened the Pandora’s box when he declared the ‘Hindu Nationalist’ movement as a key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world. Just before he went to massacre a large number of people in Norway, he released a ‘manifesto’ of 1518 pages, of which 102 pages dealt with the glorification of the Hindutva movement of India. It declared support to “Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general”. This manifesto also laid down a plan of co-operation between neo-Nazi movements of Europe and ‘Hindu Nationalist’ organisations of India. This neo-Nazi document emphasised that it was essential that these two “learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible” as “our goals are more or less identical”. This manifesto specially mentioned the name of the fountain-head of the Hindutva politics like the RSS and its subsidiaries like the BJP, ABVP and VHP in this regard.3

Importantly, the manifesto pledged military support

“to the nationalists [RSS] in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India’ as part of a larger campaign to ‘overthrow’ all Western European multicul-turalist governments”. 

Imagine if such conspiratorial revelations were made against some Muslim/Christian/Sikh individuals or organisations, the Indian intelli-gence agencies would have dug the areas inhabited by them to find out the linkages. Unfortunately, these startling disclosures about the RSS’ linkages with a developing terror nexus internationally, are no cause of worry for the Indian state. This silence gives the conspirators legitimacy to play havoc in the region.

The International Court of Justice at the Hague must immediately constitute a team to unearth the nefarious role of fascist religious and cultural organisations behind the genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar. Apart from looking into the role of such organisations in this genocide, this UN organ must also find out whether this cleansing is taking place to facilitate the capture of oil resources in this region and land grab by the Chinese and Indian corporate giants.4

Endnotes

1. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/opinion/deadly-alliances-against-muslims.html?_r=0

2. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/norwegian-mass-killers-manifesto-hails-hindutva/article2293829.ece

3. [http://ibnlive.in.com/news/norwegian-killer-anders-breiviks-manifesto- supports-hindutva/170496-3.html]

4. https://qz.com/1074906/rohingya-the-oil-economics-and-land-grab-politics-behind-myanmars-refugee-crisis/

Shamsul Islam, a well-known theatre personality, is a former Associate Professor (now retired), Department of Political Science, Satyawati College, University of Delhi. For some of the author’s writings in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu and Gujarati use the following link: http/du-in.academia.edu/Shamsullslam

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62