Total Pageviews

New leadership

Contact us: chtpcjss@gmail.com

PCJSS/JSS key persons:
Sudha Sindhu Khisa, President/ Rupayan Dewan, Vice President,/Tatindra Lal Chakma, General Secretary/. Responsibility shouldered on 11 July 2013.

Background: The present central committee was elected on 11 July 2013, on the 2nd day of the 3-day long 10th PCJSS national conference. The earlier committee (convening committee) was formed on 10th April 2010 when Mr. Santu Larma convened the 9th national conference (29-31 March 2010) in sheer violation of the party constitution and excluded a few hundred veteran leaders and members and also "formally" expelled 7 top veteran leaders (Chandra Sekhar Chakma, Sudhasindhu Khisa, Rupayan Dewan, Tatindra Lal Chakma, Eng. Mrinal Kanti Tripura, Advocate Shaktiman Chakma and Binoy Krishna Khisa) and also declared their capital punishment. The present leadership is determined to democratise the JSS under a collective leadership.

"The world suffers a lot not because of the violence of the bad people, But because of the silence of the good people." Napoleon (1769-1821).

Friday, October 05, 2012

Myanmar’s ethno-sectarian clashes: containing China?

 New Age, Dhaka, Op-ed
5 Sept 2012

http://www.newagebd.com/detail.php?date=2012-10-05&nid=25906#.UG5QXTBj8yM

PART ll

Myanmar’s ethno-sectarian clashes: containing China?






Appalling poverty, state-sponsored discrimination, and an absence of basic education are only some of the attributes that make Arakan state fertile ground for ideological extremism, especially as Rohingya feel pressured to preserve their cultural and religious identity. In his book, “The Talibanization of Southeast Asia” author Bilveer Singh describes how many of the predominantly Sunni Rohingya population population have opted for jihad in resentment following the destruction of their holy sites and removal of citizenship rights in 1982, writes Nile Bowie.

The US State Department, through the National Endowment for Democracy and the Open Society Institute, have financially supported dissident media both within and outside of Myanmar, including the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, the Democratic Voice of Burma, Radio Free Asia, the Voice of America, in addition to supporting organizations affiliated with Aung San Suu Kyi.14 The popularity enjoyed by Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party within Myanmar is largely attributable to her affiliation with networks of Buddhist monks that have championed her cause. In a September 2012 article titled, “Monks stage anti-Rohingya march in Myanmar,” AFP reported that many of the same monks who took part in 2007’s Saffron Revolution in support of Suu Kyi had now rallied behind President Thein Sein and his position on expelling the Rohingya.15 Reports describe Wirathu, referred to in popular media as an “activist monk,” who rallied against Rohingyas and long advocated the release of political prisoners.

Ironically, Human Rights Watch reports that Wirathu was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to 25 years in prison along with other monks for their role in inciting violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims.16 Though he was later granted amnesty and released, his conduct hardly describes that of a “political prisoner.” HRW reports that organizations such as the Young Monks Association received support from Aung San Suu Kyi’s political movement – the same organization now inciting violence, calling for the expulsion of the Rohingya community.17 In an article entitled, “Burma’s monks call for Muslim community to be shunned,” the Independent mentions the Young Monks Association as one of the groups involved in distributing anti-Rohingya propaganda flyers and attempting to block humanitarian aid from reaching Rohingya camps.18 Ashin Htawara, another prominent exiled dissident and Buddhist monk encouraged Myanmar’s government to send Rohingya people “back to their native land” at an event in London hosted by the anti-Rohingya Burma Democratic Concern.19 After fleeing Myanmar in 2007 following the Saffron Revolution, he continued to enthusiastically support the NLD, stating, “Aung San Suu Kyi is my special leader.”

In response to his comments toward the Rohingya community, Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, stated: “We were shocked to have [Ashin Htawara] propose to us that there should be what amounts to concentration camps for the Rohingya.”20 Additionally, prominent democracy activists within the country such as Ko Ko Gyi, a former political prisoner, maintain that “the Rohingya are not a Burmese ethnic group. The root cause of the violence… comes from across the border.”21 Myanmar’s nascent media freedom has developed in surprising ways, with social media users calling for ethnic cleansing of the kalar, a pejorative term used to demean people with Indian features. Foreign Policy reports of a popular backlash against foreign media outlets such as the BBC, while the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma recently fell victim to cyber attacks for their position on the
Rohingya issue.22

The Role of Saudi-linked Terror Networks in Arakan
Appalling poverty, state-sponsored discrimination, and an absence of basic education are only some of the attributes that make Arakan state fertile ground for ideological extremism, especially as Rohingya feel pressured to preserve their cultural and religious identity. In his book, “The Talibanization of Southeast Asia” author Bilveer Singh describes how many of the predominantly Sunni Rohingya population population have opted for jihad in resentment following the destruction of their holy sites and removal of citizenship rights in 1982. Singh acknowledges that few Muslims in Myanmar have advocated armed struggle, but notes that groups such as the Bangladesh-based Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), as well as Myanmar’s most prominent political Islamic organization, the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), have historically maintained links with foreign organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.23

ARNO originated from the Arakan-based Mujahid Party, formed in 1947 with the aim of creating an autonomous Muslim state within the then-Federal Union of Burma. The group changed its name several times before shifting its objective to forming an autonomous state specifically for Rohingya. ARNO, in its contemporary form, is the result of a merger between three groups long marred by disunity and infighting: the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization, and the Rohingya National Alliance. The UNHCR’s official chronology of Rohingya civilization in Myanmar cites the insurgent activity of Islamic groups from 1991 onwards:

At a secret camp deep in the jungle, run by the RSO [Rohingya Solidarity Organization], young Muslims are training to make war on the Buddhist military government of Burma. The goal of the rebels, calling themselves Mujahideen, is to restore the once independent Muslim homeland of Arakan on Burma’s west coast. It was an independent Muslim kingdom from 1430 to 1784 and now is the only Muslim majority province in Burma.24

Upon merging into ARNO, a new Central Committee was formed with Nurul Islam as President. Singh writes of Islam that he “has become a symbol of hope and confidence for the entire Rohingya people.”25 Confidential diplomatic cables from the American Embassy in Yangon released by Wikileaks in July 2012 cite Myanmarese intelligence documents highlighting ARNO’s connections with al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups, and reveal that ARNO President Nurul Islam had departed to Saudi Arabia and onward to the United States:

ARNO group had an estimated strength of about 200 insurgents, of whom about 170 are equipped with a variety of arms. According to Fayos Ahmed, ARNO Military-in-Charge, Salem Ulah, had contacts with Al-Qaeda and some members of ARNO forces were arrested when they were sent to join the Taliban in Afghanistan and attacked the Americans. These ARNO forces were sent to Afghanistan along with Rohingya groups in Karachi, Pakistan. Rohingya groups are in many countries like Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UAE, Palestine and Australia. Chairman Nurul Islam has received an American visa and departed for Saudi Arabia from Bangladesh, with an intent to reside in Saudi Arabia for a short period and then depart for the United States.26

If the Myanmarese intelligence reports cited by the US Embassy in Yangon were indeed accurate, then it would open the possibility of a foreign component fuelling the recent unrest in Arakan. This assertion makes sense considering the global rise of Saudi-sponsored Salafist movements aligned with US strategic objectives. Existing reports describe how communal violence was carried out with basic weapons, the role of ARNO operatives may have ranged from simply encouraging and inciting an armed response, to using small brigades of fighters to destroy property and commit violence, causing larger mobs to follow suit. Although the lack of technology, media penetration, and general instability in the region at the height of the violence make these accusations very difficult to prove, it is entirely plausible given that Myanmar’s state media has reported the presence of al-Qaeda in Arakan during the unrest.27 Reports issued by the Associated Press assert that security officials detained and charged three aid workers with “inciting religious hatred and participating in arson attacks,” including 73-year old Kyaw Hla Aung from Netherlands-based AZG, accused of having terrorist links and arrested under Article 505 of Myanmar’s penal code:

“An hour or two before I was arrested, my home was raided. I don’t know by whom. All my papers and documents were scattered outside my house,” he said. “They said I had links to Al Qaeda.”28

These reports suggest that Myanmar’s government strongly believes that foreign terror networks have influenced the unrest in Arakan. While many would argue that Myanmar’s government could use the pretext of Islamic extremism to maintain its campaign of political repression, the ongoing persecution of Rohingya, as well as sectarian clashes, open a new strategic risk that could be exploited by foreign and domestic Islamist groups in order to further justify a violent response that would only cause the situation to deteriorate. In Indonesia, several hundred “hard-liners” from organizations such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) threatened to storm the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta at the height of the unrest, but were prevented by security forces.29 Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan also expressed willingness to wage jihad against Myanmar:

“We warn [the] Pakistani government to halt all relations with [the] Burmese government and close down their embassy in Islamabad otherwise we will not only attack the Burmese interests anywhere but will also attack the Pakistani fellows of Burma one by one… We want to remind our Muslims in Burma that we haven’t forgotten you, we will take revenge of your blood.” Ehsan added: “We appeal to [the] media especially who call themselves representative of Muslims to broadcast the real situation in Burma and what’s happening to Burmese Muslims… Taliban are with the Burmese Muslim brethren.”30
 
To be continued
The author is a Kuala Lumpur-based American writer and photographer and frequent contributor to Global Research. He explores issues of terrorism, economics and geopolitics. 
Courtesy: Global Research


Notes: 
14.    Failing the People of Burma? Burma Campaign UK, 2006
15.    Monks stage anti-Rohingya march in Myanmar, AFP, September 02, 2012
16.    The Resistance of the Monks, Human Rights Watch, September 2009
17.    Ibid
18.    Burma’s monks call for Muslim community to be shunned, The Independent, July 25, 2012
19.    Crowd adores Suu Kyi at Nobel address, The New Age, June 16, 2012
20.    Burma’s monks call for Muslim community to be shunned, The Independent, July 25, 2012
21.    Ibid
22.    The Freedom to Hate, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2012
23.    The Talibanization of Southeast Asia, Bilveer Singh, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007
24.    Chronology for Rohingya (Arakanese) in Burma, UNHCR, 2004
25.    ‘The Talibanization of Southeast Asia, Bilveer Singh, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007
26.    Arakan Rohingya National Organization Contacts With Al Qaeda And With Burmese Insurgent Groups On The Thai Border, Wikileaks, July 10, 2012
27.    The Freedom to Hate, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2012
28.    Three Arakan Aid Workers Handed Jail Terms, Democratic Voice of Burma, August 27, 2012
29.    Indonesian Islamic Hard-Liners Vow Jihad for Myanmar’s Rohingyas, The Jakarta Globe, July 13, 2012
30.    Burma’s Rohingya: A New Lightning Rod For Islamic Militants? International Business Times, July 26, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment