Rohingya Muslims: Caught between Communal and Power Politics

Rohingya Muslims: Caught between Communal and Power Politics
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By Mushtaq Ahmad Malik

Commenting on the decision by Government of India to deport Rohingya refugees, Shashi Tharoor, former Foreign Minister of India in his twitter account wrote, “Shocked by Government’s decision to deport Rohingya refugees. Ancient humanitarian tradition being sacrificed purely because Rohingyas are Muslims and it was the betrayal to India traditional refugee policy where by India has open heartedly welcomed the distressed refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Jews, Parsee’s etc.” The decision is part of BJP’s larger design of religious polarization and communal politics. This should be no misinterpretation that it was the communal dimension of Gujarat Model for which communal electorate of north India brought present party to power rather than its economic dimension. The silence of the Prime Minister over the mob lynching of Muslims on the suspicion of consuming beef, violence over love Jihad , targeting of Zakir Naik, releasing Lt Col Purohit accused in Hindutva terror incidents, abolishing triple talaaq and so on is the manifestation their communal agenda to perpetuate their hold over power and please their communal vote bank.
The poor and unfortunate Rohingyas , who some claim are , are ethnically Bengali Muslims have got caught in this dirty web of religious fanaticism led by BJP in India. The decision may have been taken in keeping the eyes on upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal to arouse anti Muslim feelings and communal tensions. Instead of looking through the prism of humanitarianism,, the BJP looked at these hapless creatures through the communal electoral prism.
The unprecedented repression on Rohingyas has its reasons also in the failure of international community to put pressure on Myanmar Government to prevent such atrocities. The reason is power politics. The United Nations Organization has merely became a forum for empty resolutions and condemnations unless some powerful nation (permanent member of UNSC) has personal interests in the conflict. Therefore, nobody has its core interest at its stake except China that obviously has its own reasons to support the Government instead of Rohingyas. It is rather unfortunate and ironic that Pakistan which boasts itself as only Muslim nuclear state instead of putting pressure on Myanmar Government has maintained cordial military and strategic relations with it. Myanmar is the first and only country to which Pakistan is going to sell its indigenously built JF 17 Thunder Jet. Besides that it is training its navy in operating submarines and other military activities.
The criminal silence and inaction of Aung Sung Su Ki, the noble prize for peace, winner over the plight and prosecution of Rohingyas is also unfortunate which undermines the credentials of world’s commitment for peace and justice.
The disturbing visuals coming out from Myanmar on social media are heart wrenching. The need of the hour is that the Muslim countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and so on should bury their mutual differences and actively pursue the cause of Rohingyas. Besides this , the Muslim regional organizations like OIC should shun the role of being the paper tigers and show their existence by fulfilling the role for which they were intended to made. They should make Rohingya issue an international issue by using diplomatic channels and other ways with world powers to put pressure on Myanmar Government to stop and de escalate the hostilities and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Moreover, these Muslim nations must help them by providing active aid in terms of food, shelter and other amenities.

The author teaches Political Science. He can be reached at:


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