The Rohingya Challenge

October 17, 2017 By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army


The latest wave of Rohingya terrorist violence began on August 25, 2017, with multiple police and army posts targeted in Myanamr. According to one report in the early hours of August 25, 150 armed Rohingyas attacked 24 Police Stations and an Army Base in Mangdu district of Rakhine State of Myanmar that left 71 dead. Another report talked of 12 policemen killed. This prompted a military crackdown which triggered more killings and exodus of Rohingyas. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), claimed responsibility for the August 25 killings. Then came the finds of two mass graves in Rakhine state of Myanmar of Hindus massacred by Rohinya terrorists ostensibly on 27-28 August, but this may not be all. One grave had 28 bodies, mostly women, while the second grave had 17 bodies. According to one report citing a witness some 300 Rohingya terrorists rounded up 100 Hindus and killed 92 of them. Some women were abducted and taken away to Bangladesh, obviously for conversion and sex slavery. Rohingyas have resorted to armed militancy since the 1940s with the aim of secession from Myanmar. Most are not ethnic Burmese as a large number came from East Pakistan. Over 1.1 million are living in Myanmar’s Rakhine province and are called Bengalis in Myanmar. A video of horrific Rohingya attack on Buddhist residential area in Mangdu on June 8, 2012 shows thousands of Rohingyas descending on Buddhist settlements, butchering at large and looting and burning monasteries.

On October 26, 2016 also ARSA attacked a Myanmar police post killing nine policemen sparking crackdown on Muslim-majority northern sector of Rakhine state. The rugged terrain of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is famous for terrorist sanctuaries, where even young Musharraf was once part of ISI and Al Qaeda instructors. Former Joint Director IB, MK Dhar referring to period 1992-1993 wrote in his book ‘Open Secrets – India’s intelligence unveiled’, SIMI had already started deputing ‘volunteers’ to Pakistan for training along with the mujahideen, Taliban and Al Qaeda cadres. They established firm linkages with Islamic Chhatra Shibir, Al Qaeda affiliated HUJI, Al Badr, Al Jihad and other organizations in Bangladesh and were trained in facilities located inside Bangladesh and under the very noses of DGFI and BDR.” It is well known that during the BNP rule four major anti-India terrorist training camps were being run in Bangladesh.

Ata Ullah, head of ARSA (raised in October 2016) is a Pakistani national. ARSA calls for an Independent Islamic Rohingya State and since its formation have been attacking police stations and government offices in Myanmar, aside from several attacks on Buddhists and Hindus. Ata Ullah has been receiving billiobs of dollars from Saudi Arabia, including through the hawala route. According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), the entire Rohingya Movement is controlled by some 20 wealthy Rohingya businessmen settled in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The official website of ARSA is operated from Saudi Arabia. ARSA’s links with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are more than established. So are the links of Rohingyas with the terrorists in Bangladesh. Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM), Rohingya terror group, also fully Pakistan-backed has been receiving instructions from Pakistan’s ISI to launch pre-dawn attacks on Myanmar police posts. It may be recalled that in 2013, Bangladesh government had confirmed to New Delhi that terror groups like the LeT have instigated Rohingyas into violence in Myanmar. In addition, Abdul Kareem Tunda of LeT too had admitted he travelled from Pakistan to Bangladesh to recruit Rohingyas for jihad. It is such radicalization that today is resulting in forced conversions of Hindu women by Rohingyas even in refugee camps set up by Bangladesh. It may be recalled that Pakistani national Asim Umar was appointed chief of AQIS by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in September 2014 because Asim’s mother organization HUJI had cells operating in Kashmir, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

But even before that present crisis, India already has 40,000 illegal Rohingya immigrants in India, some under guise of UNHCR refugees, in connivance communists regime of West Bengal and Congress at the Centre that acquiesced for vote-ban politics, and perhaps more sinister designs. Why else did the Congress force the infamous Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunal (IMDT Act of 1983 on Assam that changed the demography of Assam before the Supreme Court struck it down 23 years later in 2005? Why else would the Congress colonize 4,000 of these 40,000 Rohingyas in Jammu despite Article 370. And the same Omar Abdullah who didn’t cite Article 370 then is now rooting for Rohingyas not to be deported back, even as they have already multiplied to some 8,000 with every family averaging 10-12 children. Incidentally, the UNHCR panel that appoints independent experts is headed by a Saudi National Faisal Bin Hassan Trad; same country harbouring Rohingya businessmen orchestrating riots in Myanmar and funding terrorists groups like ARSA. The larger picture of the Rohingya crisis that has been engineered by Pakistan’s ISI-LeT and Saudi-Al Qaeda as part of global jihad therefore cannot be ignored. That is why Pakistan, Afghan Taliban, Al Qaida, LeT, JeM etc are calling for attacks on Myanmar authorities. The ISIS too has been eyeing South Asia to expand its Islamic State Korasan (ISK). These realities are being glossed over under the cover of the human misery bit - on same lines that Syrian and many more non-Syrian refugees were inducted into Europe. It is not without reason that LeT cadres have been frequenting the Bangladesh- Myanmar border region, one aim also being to down Sheikh Hasina since she has clamped down on terrorist organization. For India, UN may refer to Rohingyas as refugees, but they are high security risk; Pakistani links with them and their exploitation for global jihad, destabilizing India and the region just cannot be ignored. These illegal immigrants, whether from Myanmar or Bangladesh, must be deported back to the country of their origin. In the interim, they must be placed at one place (taking them out of J&K being priority) and kept under surveillance till deportation.