CAIRO – Muslim and Buddhist groups in India called Tuesday, July 17, for the Indian government to intervene to end the ongoing atrocities committed against Muslims in neighboring Myanmar.
“There are continuous news reports of atrocities and killing of ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar which has caused a feeling of sadness amongst large sections of the Indian Muslim community,” Muslim and Buddhist groups said in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cited by Two Circles website.
“Many organizations have protested at various places across the country against this widespread killing by the Myanmar Military junta.
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“Common peace loving citizens of India are also worried about news of large scale genocidal killings of the Rohingya Muslim community.”
Described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, Myanmar’s ethnic-Bengali Muslims, generally known as the Rohingyas, are facing a catalogue of discrimination in their homeland.
They have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home.
Myanmar’s government as well as the Buddhist majority refuse to recognize the term "Rohingya", referring to them as "Bengalis".
Sectarian tension escalated in Myanmar last month after Buddhist vigilantes killed 10 Muslim pilgrims in an attack on their bus in the western state of Rakhine.
The attack followed the rape and murder of a woman in the state, which borders Bangladesh, with Buddhists blaming Muslims for that.
The violence has left dozens of people dead and tens of thousands homeless.
The official death toll of the rioting and its aftermath has been put at 78, although the real figure may be much higher.
Indian Muslims and Buddhists called for New Delhi to play a role in ending the plight of Rohingya Muslims.
“This massacre is against the principles of justice, peace and humanity,” the groups said in the letter.
“Indian government as a responsible neighboring country and as a regional and growing international power should act as a peacemaker and ask the Myanmar Government to stop this violence against its Minorities.”
The letter was signed by Shahnawaz Warsi, General Secretary of the Muslim Students Organization of India (MSO), Kishore Jagtap, President of the All India Buddhist Council and Feroze Mithiborwala, President of the Bharat Bachao Andolan.
“This act will also enhance the prestige and image of our country in South Asia and in the International community,” the letter reads.
“Thus it is our humble request that the Government of India, appeal to the Myanmar government to look into the grievous matter with the urgency that it deserves and protect the life, liberty and property of helpless Minorities.”
Discrimination against Rohingya Muslims has sparked international outcry, with calls for intervention to end their decades-long plight.
Last week, the umbrella Islamic Society of North America called on Myanmar’s Muslims to respect the human rights of Rohingya Muslims.The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has also condemned atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, calling on Myanmar’s government to end violations of human rights of the sizable minority.
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