ZYA September 16, 2016

By Aman Ullah

The question of granting ‘State’ to Arakan was taken seriously by most of the Muslims as they feared that the Maghs would create a 1942-like situation if they come to power in Arakan. In response, the Muslims of north Arakan demanded ‘autonomy’ of their region to be directly controlled by the Central government in Rangoon without the involvement of any Magh officials or their influence whatsoever. Their minimal demand was the creation of a separate district governed by the Centre. Muslim MPs raised this demand also during the debates in Parliament and in the press. Many Rohingya Socio-cultural organisations rose voices with reference to the Muslim status in Arakan.

After winning the election U Nu appointed an enquiry commission to study all the problems involved in the question of Arakan. The Rohingya Jamiatul Ulama submitted to this enquiry commission a long and explanatory memorandum on the position of the Muslims of north Arakan. They demanded establishment of a separate district which have a district council of its own and shall be vested with local autonomy.

The Rohingya Youth Association in a resolution of the meeting held on July 31, 1961 called upon the government not to grant ‘State’ to Arakan because of the community tensions still existing between Muslims and Buddhists since the 1942 riots. A similar resolution was taken by the Rohingya Student Association, with the additional warning that if it is decided despite all protest, to set up the State; this would require the partition of Arakan and the awarding of separate autonomy to the Muslims.

Muslim members of Parliament likewise petitioned the government and the inquiry commission not to include their region in the planned Arakan ‘State’. They have no objection to the creation of such a state, but only without the districts of Buthidaung, Maungdaw and part of Rathedaung where the Muslims are in majority ……… These districts must be formed into a separate unit in order to ensure the existence of the Rohingya. Forcing the creation of a single State upon all of Arakan would be likely to lead to the renewed spilling of blood.

But the Arakanese Muslim Organisation (AMO) differed in their opinion towards granting ‘State’ to Arakan. In a memorandum to the inquiry commission Sultan Mahmud, M. P., Chairman of AMO, explained that they would support the ‘State’ only on two conditions: if the Arakanese Buddhists would support their demands and if the Constitution of the ‘State’ would include, specifically, religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and educational guarantees of the Muslims.

The Eastern Command of Arakan Azad Force also declared the following statement with a two states theory.

Two States in ARAKAN

This is a well-known fact that the Mughs as well as the Muslims are after the autonomy of Arakan. But while the Mughs propose Arakan to remain one unit, the Muslims want to carve out North Arakan from the rest of Arakan and make it a separate autonomous unit within the Union of Burma.

The logic behind our proposition for separation of Arakan is by far superior to and more reasonable than what the Mughs can contend against it. And this fact was admitted by no less a person than the Prime Minister U Nu himself when he made it clear to the Mughs of Arakan. Autonomy cannot be granted to Arakan; if any such thing happens, a separate state has to be sliced out for the Muslims of North Arakan.

It appears, now, that the Government is willing to grant autonomy to Arakan. An Inquiry Commission has already been appointed in this connection, and the inquiry is afoot. But it is very painful to see that the wishes and aspiration of the Muslims of North Arakan is going to be totally overlooked by the Inquiry Commission.

This leads to a natural apprehension if the Government paying no heed to the racial, cultural, traditional and linguistic distinctions and the local majority of the Muslims; is going to throw them at the mercy of the Mughs, who on the false pretext of their numerical strength dream to keep the Five lakhs Muslims and their zone where they hold ninety percent majority, under the domination of the Mughs.

We wish our Mugh brethren to realise that if hard facts of realities are taken into account, Arakan question can be very easily solve to the satisfaction of all concerned. It is simply to follow the golden rule of “Live and let live.” This is definitely put end to all our mutual ill-feelings and mistrusts: and here lies our mutual happiness.

We heartily congratulate the leaders of Burma for their practical wisdom, political sagacity and statesmanship they have shown by granting autonomy to Khaya, Khechin and Kareen. Now the question of Arakan is under their consideration. But the device chosen for its solution, it appears, will not bear the desired fruit. A declaration to this effect that …………..if the Arakanese so desire, autonomy may be granted to Arakan and the inquiry thereafter are not enough. The racial distinction between the Mughs and the Muslims, the ratio of their respective population, their distinctive local conditions and distinct bents of their minds are such basic factors that must be kept in view by a democratic Government in dealing with the question of granting autonomy to its people. An impartial observer will not fail to see that the solution of Arakan Issue lies in dividing Arakan into a Mugh State and a Muslim state comprising their respective majority areas. The Mujahids in Arakan came into being, as a matter of fact, in quest of this just and natural solution. They were not rebels. It is a pity that the Government instead of redressing their grievances, have all these twelve years long been wasting country’s resources in forcibly suppressing them by one measure or other and finally with a view to annihilate the Mujahid movement the Mayu Frontier Administration Rule has been promulgated in North Arakan. In our opinion, this is not a right move. The proper course of should have been to create a Mayu State instead of imposing the Mayu Frontier Administration Rule, whereby the Muslim would have had their rights, the Mujahid movement would have cooled down by itself and peace would have prevailed in no time.

Hence we urge upon the Government that if they are really sincere in their effort to solve Arakan Issue and bring about peace, they should ponder over our demand. If the Government, still, doubt the propriety and popularity of our cause, a North Arakan State Inquiry Commission may better be set up to find out the fact.
This is a well-known fact that the Mughs as well as the Muslims are after the autonomy of Arakan. But while the Mughs propose Arakan to remain one unit, the Muslims want to carve out North Arakan from the rest of Arakan and make it a separate autonomous unit within the Union of Burma.

14 -10 -1960 Eastern Command
Arakan Azad Force