Rohingyas cry for homes they left behind

14 Sep 2017, 09:21 | updated: 14 Sep 2017, 13:08

Ahmed Al Amin
From Cox’s Bazar
Landing into Bangladesh on September 13, Rohingya woman Setara Begum bursts into tears after getting the news of her home that was torched by the Myanmar army soldiers and local Buddhists. Photo: Mohammad Ibrahim

Setara Begum gave birth to a baby girl 40 days ago. She is still young. There are no ways to confer some comfort to her new-born. She had to leave her home few days after giving birth to the child. Her crime was she is a Rohingya. She has fled her home at Rakhine State to escape violence operated by the Myanmar military soldiers and local Buddhist terrorists.

She was entering Hariakhali from Shah Pori Dwip at Teknaf to take refuge on September 13 with the 40-day-old child on her lap. She covered her child’s face to save her from scorching heat. She came to Shah Porir Dwip on Wednesday after crossing the Naf River. She was hurriedly walking to Hariakhali without waiting at anywhere. Her husband Siraj Ullah was gone missing few days ago. She did not get any trace of her husband after the Myanmar army men had picked him from home.

A young boy called Setara at that time and told her something. She burst into tears sometime after their conversation.

Asked what happened to her, she responded that all houses of her village were torched by the military men. She witnessed all the atrocities before leaving her home as her home had yet to be set on fire. She thought it’s a temporary problem. She wishes she would be able to go back to her home.

She left home with her sister after her husband went missing. She was in hide at different places of the Myanmar border. She crossed the Naf River at the dead of the night. She said she did all those things to save her baby as the innocent new born child has no fault.

She also had a deep affection for her home. She thought the home would be escape from the military men as she constructed it with her own hands.

She said, ‘I believed I would return to my own country and own home.’

But she burst into tears getting the news of her home which was torched by the Myanmar army soldiers. Even her sister could not able to console her.

The stateless and homeless Setara was weeping for her home and her country taking her new child on her lap.

Reports from refugees and rights groups paint a picture of widespread attacks on Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine state by the security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have torched numerous Muslim villages.

Meanwhile, a dozen Nobel laureates, including Malala Yousafzai and Muhammad Yunus, urged the United Nations on Wednesday to use ‘all available means’ to end violence in Myanmar that has forced about 400,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

The exodus began after a series of Rohingya militant attacks sparked a sweeping military response in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which the UN rights agency said was a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.

Myanmar’s government regards Rohingya as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, even though many have lived in the country for generations.

Bangladesh was already home to about 400,000 Rohingya, who fled earlier conflict in Myanmar including a similar security crackdown in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to militant attacks in October.

Many of the new arrivals are hungry and sick, without shelter or clean water in the middle of the rainy season.