India says Rohingyas a threat as Myanmar seeks international help

19 Sep 2017


The Government of India has told the Supreme Court that the country cannot risk holding the more than 40,000 Rohingya refugees who have flocked to India following the crackdown on militant groups in Myanmar, even as more than 410,000 from Myanmar's Muslim minority have fled to Bangladesh since August.

The government on Monday told the apex court that it has evidence that there are extremists who pose a threat to the country's security among the Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and settled in many Indian cities.

Prashant Bhushan who is representing the two Rohingya refugees challenging a government decision to deport the ethnic group from India in the Supreme Court, however, said the decision was discriminatory.

Myanmar's state Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under increasing international pressure over the Rohyngya exodus, on the other hand, has criticised media hype and a "huge iceberg of misinformation" for distorting the global picture of events in the Rakhine province of Myanmar.

Suu Kyi addressed the international community in the morning on the crisis in Rakhine state and promised that all substantiated human rights violations will be dealt with by ''strict justice''.

Aung San Suu Kyi said her government is ''committed to the restoration of peace, stability and rule of law throughout the state''.

In a speech delivered in Nay Pyi Taw in the morning, which was aired on the state-run television, Aung San Suu Kyi invited the international community to help her government deal with the situation, and said it would work with Bangladesh to help repatriate refugees who could prove that they had citizenship in Myanmar.

The speech was delivered in English and aired on state-run television without Myanmar subtitles.

The 1.1-million-strong Rohingyas, a remnant of British colonialism, have failed to secure citizenship in Myanmar even though they have been in that country for long. 

Trouble started early on 25 August when hundreds of Rohinyga militants backed by outside elements staged coordinated attacks on 30 police posts in Myanmar's westernmost state of Rakhine, killing at least 12 police personnel.

The Myanmar army hit back fast and hard with "clearance operations" in Rohingya villages. It says it is trying to flush out insurgents from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

But the crackdown has affected Rohingya more, sparking an exodus from Rohingya villages, which are soon burning so fiercely the flames and smoke are visible from Bangladesh.

But the influx of refugees has created a big problem for Bangladesh with over 120,000 Rohingya flocking into Bangladesh in just 11 days and chocking Cox Bazar with refugee camps all around.

Bangladesh already houses at least 300,000 Rohingya in camps near the border. The fresh influx creates a dire shortage of food, clean water and shelter as the country finds it difficult to cater to those desperate for food and water after walking for more than a week over hills and through dense jungle.

As the crisis worsens, rights groups have warned of a final push by the Myanmar army and Buddhist mobs to drive the stateless Rohingya from Myanmar for good.

Within 11 days of the attacks, more than 120,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh, overwhelming the handful of ill-equipped refugee camps around Cox's Bazar.

Many arrive desperate for food and water after walking for more than a week over hills and through dense jungle. Some need urgent treatment for bullet wounds and machete gashes.

According to the UN, more than 400,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since 25 August, which is more than a third of the total Rohingya population of 1.1 million living in Rakhine.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has departed for the UN to plead for global help in coping with the Rohingya deluge.

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