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Myanmar army chief urges unity over Rohingya ‘issue’

The military says its "clearance operations" in northern Rakhine state are aimed at flushing out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25.

By: AFP | Yangon | Updated: September 17, 2017 10:01 pm
Rohingya refugee, Rohingya muslims, Rohingya camps in Banglasesh, Rohingya muslim death, Bangladesh shelter homes for Rohingya Muslims, indian express news A Rohingya refugee mother fans her child with a piece of paper in a newly built makeshift camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Myanmar’s army chief has urged the country to unite over the “issue” of the Rohingya, a Muslim group he says has no roots in the country, and which his troops are accused of systematically purging. The military says its “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine state are aimed at flushing out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25. But the violence has engulfed the border region and triggered an exodus of more than 400,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, where they have told of soldiers slaughtering civilians and burning down entire villages.

UN leaders have described the campaign as having all the hallmarks of “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya, a stateless group that has endured years of persecution and repression. The status of the Muslim minority has long been a explosive topic in Myanmar. Many in the Buddhist majority view the group as foreign interlopers from Bangladesh and deny the existence of a Rohingya ethnicity, insisting they be called “Bengalis”.

General Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s globe-trotting army chief, trumpeted that view in comments posted on his official Facebook page Saturday. “They have demanded recognition as Rohingya, which has never been an ethnic group in Myanmar. (The) Bengali issue is a national cause and we need to be united in establishing the truth,” the post said.

The defence of his army’s operations comes amid strident global condemnation of the violence, which has strapped Bangladesh with the overwhelming task of providing shelter and food to a rising tide of desperate refugees. But inside Myanmar the army is riding a new wave of support from a public that has incubated hatred against the Rohingya for years.

On Sunday Myanmar’s government hinted that it may not take back Rohingya who fled across the border, accusing those refugees of having links to the militants. “Those who fled the villages made their way to the other country for fear of being arrested as they got involved in the violent attacks. Legal protection will be given to the villages whose residents did not flee,” the government’s Information Committee statement said.

Previous statements have said the country will set up relief shelters in northern Rakhine for Muslims “who can guarantee they are in no way connected to the terrorists”. Myanmar’s civilian leader, former democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, has no power to control the army, which retains sweeping powers from its years of junta rule.

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    Jagannatha
    Sep 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm
    Mamata Banerjee's stand is dubious.
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    1. Naved Yar Khan
      Sep 18, 2017 at 11:38 am
      Whether police party was attacked on August 25 or if so whether it was to save Rohingya mothers,sisters and daughters from rapes? Is the U.N. wrong?
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        suraj
        Sep 18, 2017 at 7:21 am
        one of the most unnoticed incident of par ion is chittagong hill tracts with area of 13814 km2(amost equivalent to size of kashmir valley)which had non muslim majority of 98 percent(mostly buddist chakma and minority hindus) was handed over to east pakistan which is bangladesh now. india made a great mistake of not taking it during par ion since it was 98 percent non muslims and all them were eager to join india and even hoisted indian flag before pakistan army takeover.bangladeshis done horrible crimes against chakmas who are seeking shelter in india now.chittagong hill tracts is muslim majority now.Lesson to be learnt is non muslims should never give shelter to muslims even on humanitarian grounds because they are so ungrateful that one day they will kick out the original inhabitants and start claiming that land.
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          Pooja
          Sep 18, 2017 at 7:06 am
          Its tough for them, but all the suffering of these converts is becaz of "THE SIN" they have done by converting to corrupt and invalid cult of islam. Converts are suffering worldwide, they must return to their ORIGINAL RELIGION, only then they will find PEACE PROSPERITY. Otherwise they will keep suffering till the end of cult of islam, which is not so far.
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            suraj
            Sep 18, 2017 at 7:05 am
            india cant afford to keep these highly radicalised rohingyas as they will pose great security and demographic threat to india dia should deport them all.there is a humanitarian crisis now but muslim countries(more than 50) who always talk about muslim brotherhood and ummah should distribute among themselves. OIC should ask muslim countries to give them shelter if they are really concerned about rohingya muslims otherwise muslim brotherhood,ummah etc is just an eyewash.they are ethinically bangladeshi muslims.so bangladesh should take maximum responsibility.then pakistan which is created in the name of islam should take responsibility.Also rich arab countires,iran,turkey and other muslim countries should take them.This is the only solution for rohingya crisis.
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