Massacre of Myanmar Hindus

Perpetrator: Arakan Salvation Rohingya Army (ARSA)

Year: 2017-now

Number: 120 Myanmar Hindus murdered or abducted, ~30000 forced Hindu refugees, 11700 Hindus and Buddhists displaced internally, unknown number of women raped.

Much has been said about the “Rohingya refugee crisis,” yet not enough has been said, because little has been said about the victims at the hands of the Rohingya Muslims: the Myanmar Hindus. The disproportionate attention given to the Rohingyas, ignoring their crimes against other ethnic groups, like the Myanmar Hindus, is a classic case of selective reporting of crimes based on ethnicity. But this massacre was not the end of their suffering, which continues even today, untold & ignored by all and sundry.

Massacre of Myanmar Hindus on 25 Aug, 2017

25 August, 2017: One of the darkest days in global Hindu history.

The swelling Rohingya Muslim crisis reached a pinnacle when the Myanmar military took military action against the Jihadi terrorist group called “ARSA”—Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army—the militant group which launched attacks on 30 police outposts & Buddhist monasteries in Myanmar (and claimed responsibility for the attacks).

Some innocuous Hindus of the Rakhine state got embroiled in this crisis out of little fault of theirs: they worshiped and offered flowers at the Buddhist monasteries which the ARSA sought to burn down. Henceforth, they were seen as in collusion with the Myanmarese Buddhists and military, without them making any combative moves against anyone. They were, basically, minding their lives like everyone should.

This triggered a cruel, sinister, merciless attack on all Hindus of the Rakhine state by the ARSA. In one day, the entire village was empty of Hindus, houses burnt to ground, mass graves appeared in vast lands overnight. The tales of that day are not for the faint-hearted.

Though the initial muddled reporting made it unclear who is behind the attacks, forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts confirm that the ARSA militants were the perpetrators.

“After the Hindu refugees returned to Myanmar in October, they “unambiguously asserted that Rohingya, believed to be ARSA fighters, were responsible,” Amnesty says. According to the rights group, this witness testimony was backed up by forensic analysis of 31 photos of exhumed bodies.”

TIME

Eyewitnesses and survivors of the massacre share gory stories of the dreadful day.

“I saw men holding the heads and hair [of the women] and others were holding knives. And then they cut their throats,” she [Formila] said.

Formila, 20, massacre survivor to Amnesty

Another survivor shares:

“Armed men dressed in black and local Rohingya villagers in plain clothes rounded up dozens of Hindu women, men and children. They robbed, bound, and blindfolded them before marching them to the outskirts of the village, where they separated the men from the women and young children. A few hours later, the ARSA fighters killed 53 of the Hindus, execution-style, starting with the men. Eight Hindu women and eight of their children were abducted and spared, after ARSA fighters forced the women to agree to “convert” to Islam.”

Amnesty International

Bina Bala, one of the survivors of the massacre, gave the following statement to Amnesty:

“[The men] held knives and long iron rods. They tied our hands behind our backs and blindfolded us. I asked what they were doing. One of them replied, ‘You and Rakhine are the same, you have a different religion, you can’t live here. He spoke the [Rohingya] language. They asked what belongings we had, then they beat us. Eventually I gave them my gold and money.”

Bina Bala, 22 yrs, to Amnesty International
Myanmar Hindu massacre survivor
Myanmar Hindu massacre survivor. Source: Sky News

Her statement clears it, beyond all doubts, that the Hindus were brutally massacred by Rohingya militants for their religion. Thus, this does count as a Hindu Genocide.

“The [Hindu] family was too frightened and so they fled into a nearby building. Some of the people in the crowd had guns and they shot [at them]. Kamala was hit. She was shot in the chest and lost consciousness. The rest were killed with swords. Witnesses told us that [attackers] said words related to religion like ‘Allah is taking you. So you must go.’ [Attackers] left her because they thought she was dead. We can say her account is very credible.”

The Irrawady

All eyewitness accounts and accounts of survivors of the genocide corroborate one fact, head and shoulders above all else: the murderers were Jihadi terrorists, killing Hindus for their religion, stealing their money, homes and properties, and shouting the name of Allah before committing the crimes.

A total of 53 men were murdered, 16 women & their children were abducted and forced to convert to Islam. In September, mass graves of Hindus were discovered, containing 45 more dead bodies. The next day (Aug 26), six more Hindus were killed.

“They looted our house, then marched us with more than a hundred of our neighbours to a secluded spot,” she told the Dhaka Tribune. “They had dug holes in the ground. They shot and stabbed people and dumped the bodies into the holes.”

Anika Dhar, Hindu refugee in Bangladesh to Dhaka Tribune

Influx of Myanmar Hindus into Bangladesh

The Hindus of Arakan were brutally terrorised by the ARSA terrorist mob, which operates by forcing Hindus to flee. An eyewitness of the remains of the Aug 25 massacre reports:

“Muslims made threats. Some shot with a gun and one [Hindu] was killed. I also interviewed the mother of a victim. She could identify from where the gun was fired. But things are different from what we usually see in movies—not every one of them is shooting with a gun. Some have improvised firearms, some have guns and some have swords. They are a large crowd and it is easier for them to threaten and attack small groups of people. Hindus are the minority there and they dare not talk back to them. What they can do is to avoid conflict. So, they flee. But the town is too small, only four or five wards. So, they flee to Arakanese wards. They escaped, but unluckily some were killed on the way.”

The Irrawady

Thus started the exodus of Hindus from Myanmar to Bangladesh–the only neighbouring country where they can escape.

Hindu women who were escaping were forced by ARSA terrorists to give a statement on video that the violence was carried out by the Myanmar military. They were given death threats if they divulged the truth. But Amnesty verified the accounts of the survivors and confirmed that ARSA were behind the attacks.

Forced Conversions of Myanmar Hindu Refugees

In Bangladesh, Hindus have sought shelter in Cox Bazar and other temporary refugee camps. But their plight is far from over. Hindu women refugees are a now at the mercy of Muslim men in Bangladesh, who are forcing them to marry and convert to Islam.

“Hindu Rohingya women are reporting that they are being forced to remove sindoor (a traditional vermilion red powder worn by married women along the parting of their hair) break their bangles, and marry Muslim men, converting religion in the process.”

Dailymail

Note that the term “Hindu Rohingya” used by the publication is incorrect as the Myanmar Hindus do not identify themselves as Rohingyas, who are their perpetrators.

The women are being forced to give up Hindu rituals and recite “Namaz” five times a day. Their names have been changed to Muslim names. Most of these women witnessed their families and husbands being murdered by Rohingya terrorists. They were spared because they were taken captive as sex slaves by the terrorists. Though they managed to escape, they face the same oppression in Bangladesh now.

Myanmar Hindu refugees in Bangladesh. Source: Dailymail
Myanmar Hindu refugees in Bangladesh. Source: Dailymail

What’s worse, Jihadi Muslims want to recruit the children of Hindu women into ARSA to fight against Myanmar military and establish an Islamic state! A survivor of the massacre shares:

“They tell us to convert, support them, or they will kill us. They want our children to fight against the Myanmarese army with them and demand a separate ‘desh’.”

Economic Times

The Rohingya Muslims gobble up any relief items sent to Hindu refugees in Bangladesh. The Hindu refugees, who have no means to survive whatsoever, are getting only scraps.

“They complained that the relief material India is sending to Bangladesh for the Rohingyas is being diverted to the Muslims and they get only what remains. One US-based Sikh NGO is providing them meals every day.”

Economic Times

Myanmar Govt Agrees to Repatriation of Myanmar Hindus, But No Progress

Some of the Hindu refugees have been repatriated back to Myanmar, where they found shelter in Buddhist temples and camps. The rest of them await their turn.

“If Myanmar takes us back, we will go,” he said. “The reason we want to go back is because the Myanmar government did not bother us. And the Bangladeshi government is also not bothering us. We don’t want to stay in a foreign country,” Shishu Shil added. “We have no demands for Myanmar or for this country for our return. But during our return and afterwards when we are living Myanmar, we want only one assurance – that al-Yaqin [ARSA] will not bother us.”

Shishu Shil, Myanmar Hindu refugee in Bangladesh, Benarnews

Myanmar government declared that they are willing to repatriate Hindu refugees, to have begun in January 2018, but no action has been taken as yet. Recently, they sought the help of UN in bringing back the estranged Hindus to their own country, though they have no home or families to go back to, only a constant fear of death at the hands of ARSA and Rohingya extremists.

References:

Rohingya Insurgents Massacred Hindu Civilians in Myanmar, Amnesty International Reports | TIME

Myanmar: New evidence reveals Rohingya armed group massacred scores in Rakhine State | Amnesty

Dozens of Hindus Killed in Maungdaw: Relatives

Rakhine Violence: On the Ground in Maungdaw | The Irrawady

Almost 100 Hindus massacred in Arakan, Myanmar by Rohingya Terrorists |Hindupost

Myanmar searches for more Hindu corpses as mass grave unearthed | SBS News

‘Hindus were identified and taken to a nearby hill… Only eight women were allowed to live… mostly the young and the beautiful’: Forced conversions reported at Rohingya refugee camps | DailyMail

Rohingya Hindus faced darkness this Durga puja | Economic Times

508 Hindus among 1st batch of refugee repatriation from Bangladesh: Myanmar | Financial Express

Myanmar’s Hindu Refugees in Bangladesh Want to Go Home, But None Have so Far | Benar News

Govt seeks UN envoy’s help with Hindu repatriation | Myanmar Times

Cover Image: Sky News