KARACHI, Aug 9: Over 30,000 minority Rohingya Muslims have been murdered and thousands others injured in attacks on the community by the Buddhist majority community over the past couple of months while the Myanmar government remains unmoved, said a visitor from the Southeast Asian country.Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday, the visitor, Mohammad Imran Saeed, who is a member of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, Arakan (Burma), said that the government had banned the entry of the media into the troubled state of Rakhine — formerly known as Arakan — that had resulted in a complete blackout of the atrocities being committed there.
He said though some news related to the atrocities did leak out and reached the international community it was not presenting the actual gory picture and it probably was the reason that the world community in general and Muslim countries in particular had not shown enough support for the victims of the genocide nor had they put enough pressure on the Myanmar government to perform its duty of protecting the lives of the minority community.
Apprising the media about the incidents, he said that many people were killed in an attack on a bus carrying Tablighi Jamaat Muslims to Yangoon on June 4. Then violence spread to other areas and on June 8 attacks were carried out on Muslims in Rakhine state’s capital Sittwe, formerly known as Akyab, and its surrounding villages.
Mr Saeed said that the government had imposed a restriction on Muslim gatherings, even on Friday congregations and meetings in Madressahs. He said that the government was not protecting the Muslims. They were not being allowed to shift the injured to hospitals, or even bury their dead. He said that military men in many incidents took away the bodies and disposed of them.
He said that a curfew had been imposed on Rakhine and Muslims were not allowed to go out of their houses and this being the sowing season they were being denied access to their agricultural fields, which was their only source of earning. He said that 45 Muslim villages had been wiped out and over 25,000 houses of Muslims had been burnt.
He said that he and his colleague Mohammad Islam, who was not present at the press conference owing to sickness, had been sent by his organisation to Pakistan to tell the people and the government here about the atrocities being faced by them and enlist their support.He said that they were scheduled to travel to Islamabad and Lahore as well to meet political parties and the government. He said his organisation had also sent similar teams to Malaysia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries to apprise the people there and mobilise their support for the Muslims of Myanmar.
Speaking about the living conditions of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, he said that over 350,000 had crossed over the border and were put in camps in 1991 and nearly 300,000 returned after the situation back home improved, but over 50,000 were still living in camps in Bangladesh and they were registered with and were looked after by international NGOs working for refugees, including Unicef. However, he said, the situation of other 50,000 Rohingyas who had also crossed over the border and were living in different places in Bangladesh was pathetic. As they were not registered with any NGOs, they did not get any relief goods from anybody, while the government did not let them go out of their hutments, he added.
Human Rights Council of Pakistan chief Intikhab Alam, who was also present at the conference, urged the people and the government to extend all possible help to Muslims being persecuted in Myanmar.