India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has told the country’s Supreme Court its plan to deport Rohingya refugees, labeling them “illegal” immigrants.
Modi insists his country will commence mass deportations to return the community to the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar.
More than 400,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the past few weeks to escape military and civilian reprisals that the United Nations has described as “ethnic cleansing.”
For more than three years, the Rohingya Muslims have been the targets of rape, torture and mass killings in their homeland.
On August 25, 2017, Rohingya Arsa militants allegedly launched deadly attacks on more than 30 police posts. The Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.
The reprisals have been ongoing and increasingly more deadly.
Last week, at least 15 people were killed in a massive fire that tore its way through a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. At least 400 remain missing, the U.N. refugee agency said.
U.N. investigators report that soldiers killed as many as 10,000 people in retaliation.
Last January, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that Myanmar must protect Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar’s former civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has made her contempt for the ethnic group clear over the years.
“The chances of Aung San Suu Kyi implementing this ruling will be zero unless significant international pressure is applied,” said Anna Roberts, executive director of the rights group Burma Campaign U.K.
Ironically, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her resistance to the former military dictatorship that held her under house arrest for 15 years. Aung San Suu Kyi was lauded as “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless.”
The Rohingya genocide may have begun in 2017, but the Rohingya Muslims have sustained persecution over decades. In the homeland, Buddhist-majority Myanmar, they have slowly been alienated from society, losing their rights to education, health care, and even citizenship.
The Indian government’s ruling will only succeed in emboldening the perpetrators of the ongoing onslaught. Citing an alleged connection between Rohingya Muslims, Pakistan-based terror groups and other international terror organizations, Modi pronounced them as a “serious threat to national security.”
Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted last month. But not for her silent consent of the inhumane treatment of the Rohingya. The stoical leader arrested by the military during the 2021 Myanmar coup d’état after declaring the November general election results fraudulent.
Protests have erupted across the country as Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters campaign for her freedom… but the displaced Rohingya’s cries remain unheard.