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Operation Whale: Rohingya Forced to Accept ‘Illegal Bengali Immigrants’ Classification

By M.S. Anwar ׀ June 12, 2014 – 9:00AM (MST)

Maungdaw, Arakan: On June 10, 2014, administration of Border Guard Police (BGP) Chief Commanding Officer Colonel Tin Ko Ko started an operation against Rohingya named Operation Whale. The goal of this census-like-operation is to universally brand Rohingyas as ‘illegal Bengali Immigrants.’


It has been well-documented how Myanmar Regime has been persecuting Rohingya community and committing genocide against them. They have, in the past, carried out quite a number of notorious operations against Rohingyas to implement their ethnic cleansing policy.

On 31st March 2014, Myanmar Government started to carry out nationwide population census. The census law provides everyone a right to self-identify his/her ethnicity. However, Rohingyas didn’t enjoy that right. They were, in various means, forced to accept ‘Bengali Ethnicity’ tag. Rohingyas resisted wisely and gently. Thus, government’s plan failed.

Nevertheless, Myanmar Government has embraced yet a nastier and brutal approach to force Rohingyas to accept ‘Bengali’ classification. Not just ‘Bengali’ classification, but ‘Illegal Bengali Immigrants’ classification this time.

“Administration of Border Guard Police (BGP) Chief Commanding Officer Colonel Tin Ko Ko started to force Rohingyas in Maungdaw Township to accept ‘Illegal Bengali Immigrants’ classification on June 10, 2014. Teams of BGP and immigration used force and threats to enlist names and other details of Rohingya families in many villages under the heading ‘Illegal Bengali Immigrants.’

Till date, they have made attempts in the villages like Kyikan Pyin (Khawar Bil), Paikseik (Faatonzaa), Myin Hlut (Mer Ullah), Quarter 1 (Ukhil Fara and Shina Fatti) and other few villages in Maungdaw. When families didn’t provide census list documents to BGP, the BGP used the copies that they have to enlist Rohingyas under Bengali Classification” said Khan (not real name), a local Rohingya in Maungdaw.

Few families are forced to participate in the operation at gun-points of BGP, while the majority of Rohingya dared refuse. Those that refused to take part were threatened, beaten, tortured and detained etc.

“Around 12:00 noon on 11th June 2014, a team of BGP led by regional BGP commander in the village of Alay Than Kyaw (Haihsshurata) arrived at one of its village tract, Kanpoo, and ordered the villagers to be investigated. When the villagers refused to follow, men were beaten and arrested. Women were too harassed and beaten. And they were forced to become parts of the operation. The Rohingya men arrested are:

1)     Anamul Hasan (son of) Mohammed Nazir (of Age 28),

2)     2) Naimur Rahman (son of) Mohammed Nazir (of Age 25),

3)     3) Abdul Hoque (son of) Jafar Ahmed (of Age 42),

4)     4) Sayedul Amin (son of) Abdul Hoque (of Age 20),

5)     5) Mohammedur Rahman (son of) Fazal Rahman (Age 50),

6)     6) Shuna Meah (son of) Mohammedur Rahman (of Age 23),

7)     7) Nur Alam (son of) Dudu Meah (of age 24),

8)     8) Riyazullah (son of) Mohammed Shafi (of Age 18),

9)     9)Abdu Shukkor (son of) Jormulluk (of Age 17) and

10) 10)Abul Hashim (son of) Mohammed Hussain (of Age 28)

11)  Ghulam Shariff (son of) Mu’aika (of Age ?).

Ghulam Shariff, in particular, was beaten so severely that he lost his consciousness. When he regained his sense back, he was forced to accept Bengali Classification at gun-point. This is how brutal BGP is behaving” said MYARF, a group of activists.

BGP Chief Commanding Officer Colonel Tin Ko Ko summoned administrators of Rohingya villages and community elders for a meeting at his office in Kyi Kan Pyin on June 11, 2014.

In the three hour meeting (i.e. from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon), Colonel Tin Ko Ko threatened “this is not a place belongs to you, Bengalis. You must involve in the operation and get yourselves classified. If you don’t, we will force you to do it. We will torture you to death. We will confiscate your homes, lands and all other properties. We will cut off your access to livelihoods. We will not allow you to go to forest for woods, to rivers for fishing and to trade goods. You must do as we say” said a senior Rohingya that attended meeting.

“He kept on scolding and threatening. And we didn’t say a word. We just left after the meeting was over” he continued.

The Operation is named ‘Operation Whale’, while the teams that involve in the operation are called ‘Anti-Illegal Bengali Immigration Squads.’ Therefore, it is pretty clear that Myanmar Government has once again come out with a clear agenda of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people.

For more about the Operation, please click to read: Myanmar Border Police (BGP) to Resume Nasaka’s Oppressive Mechanism against Rohingya

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