Protests erupt in Arakan against allowing Rohingya title

(Narinjara – March 17,2014 )


Protest demonstrations against  the word Rohingya replacing Bengali titles in the Burma censes have erupted across Rakhine (also known as Arakan) in western Burma.

The Arakanese staged their protest rallies in various places like Kyauk Phyu, Mra Oo, Maypon, Min Pyar, Rambray, Kyauk Taw, Punna Kyun, Rathetaung, Buthetaung, Maung daw and also the State capital city of Sittwe.

Thousands  joined in the demonstrations shouting slogans meaning ‘Pro Rohingya  – our enemy !’, ‘Rohhingya lobbyist – betrayer!’, ‘We have no Rohingya along the history of Arakan State!’, ‘Liars on history –get out!’, ‘In censes – no Rohingya !’, ‘President Thein Sein – be sensible of us!’ ‘Don’t touch our territory!’,  ‘We dare to die for Peace!’, ‘Peace destroyers are our enemy!’ etc.

U Than Tun, a resident of Sittwe, argued that the problem (of identifying Bengali Muslims as Rohingya in the national census) would be more complicated in future if we can not solve it today. So the Arakanese have come to the streets asking a timely solution to it.

The demonstrators primarily focused on the code number 914 which supposes to title Rohingya instead of Bengali names in the census.

“If we allow it to happen, they (read Bengali Muslims) would soon ask for ethnic right. After that they would advocate for a separate autonomous State or even a country out of Burma. This would be a real danger to our future generation. If we allow the Rohingya  in the list, we would have face a very difficult problem in future,” added U Than Tun.

The Burma President Thein Sein and his cabinet have already proclaimed that there is no community called Rohingya in Burma (Myanmar). The people from Bangladesh are known as Rohingya in Burma. Some cunning elements are raising voices for allowing the word Rohingya as the title of the Bengali Muslims in the Burma census. Those elements are also trying to get supports from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Middle East.

Once Burma accepts the community as Rohingya from the southeast Asian country, the government would have to take responsibility of the people and also their misdeeds. So that would be really dangerous for our country, claimed the outspoken Sittwe resident.

“We will continue our demonstrations on the issue and the next phase will be organized from March 30 to April 10,” informed U San Shwe Kyaw, a leader from Punna Kyun locality.

He also asserted that if the Burma government ignores the voice of demonstrators, the Rakhine people as a whole would boycott the national censes in Arakan.



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