Rohingyas, a predominantly Muslim community, are one of the many ethnic nationalities in Burma. They are one of the two major indigenous peoples of Arakan; the other is the Rakhine who are Buddhists.
Rohang, the old name of Arakan, was a very familiar region for the Arab seafarers even during pre-Islamic days. Tides of people like the Arabs, Moors, Turks, Pathans, Moguls, Central Asians, Bengalis came mostly as traders, warriors, preachers and captives over land or through the sea route. Many settled in Arakan, and mixing with the local people, developed the present stock of people known as ethnic Rohingya. Hence, the Rohingya Muslims, whose settlements in Arakan date back to the 7th century AD are not an ethnic group which developed from one tribal group affiliation or single racial stock. They are an ethnic group developed from different stocks of people. The ethnic Rohingya is Muslim by religion with a distinct culture and civilisation of their own.
On 8th December 1941, Japan declared war against British Government. On 7th March 1942, the Japanese invading forces occupied Rangoon, the capital city of Burma. On 23rd March 1942 Japan bombed the Akyab City of Arakan. So, the British administration withdrew from Akyab by the end of March 1942. There was an administration vacuum in Arakan and exploiting the opportunity, the Rakhine communalists in connivance with Burma Independence Army (BIA) led by Bo Rang Aung brought a pogrom among them, massacring about 100,000 innocent Rohingya Muslims, driving out 80,000 of them across the border to East Bengal, devastating their settlements and depopulating the Muslims in some parts of Arakan. According to the London Agreement of October 7, 1947 power was handed over to the government of the Union of Burma on 4th January 1948.
From May, 1994 accused as Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) supporters or sympathisers, Rohingyas were taken at night from their homes and were tortured to death or buried alive. About 60,000 troops have been deployed in northern Arakan, who used thousands of Rohingyas as human shields. Hundreds of young Rohingyas were taken to deep forest as porters, most of whom have never come back. Under false and imaginary charges, thousands of Rohingyas had been gunned down and slaughtered. They were forced at gunpoint to kill each other. There are instances that brother had to kill brother and father and son were killed together before the very eyes of the family members. At least 300 Rohingyas were buried in the mass graves in Maung Daw and Buthidaung townships in the year 1994.
Human Rights violations in Arakan by AFK Jilani
A short History of Arakan by Mohd Ashraf Alam
Human Rights Abuses and Discrimination on Rohingyas by Zaw Min Htut
Kaladanpress Net work, Narinjara News and MSF reports.
"The Advent of Islam in Arakan and the Rohingya" by Dr.Mohammed Ali Chowdhury presented at the seminar organized by Arakan Historical Society at Chittagong Zila Parishad Hall on December 31, 1995
Sat Jul 03 13:52:23 2010