Burma Times Correspondent, February 17, 2015
Senior officials of BGP and Rakhine community leaders are visiting Muslim villages in Maungdaw South to discourage people from identifying themselves as Rohingyas. They are also claiming that once they stop saying they are Rohingyas, the state will accept them as equal citizens.
One such team held a meeting at the Jommatti village on Monday.
During the meeting, Rakhine elders from the settlements of Thainda, Shinkali Tenda, Washa, Pawang Benj, Tarikunda were present alongside the community leaders of Jommatti.
Addressing a gathering of Rohingya Muslim elders, a BGP official said, “There is nothing called a Rohingya. So don’t identify yourself as Rohingya,” said the official whom locals could identify as an official in the rank of thinkuku.
“Anyone who does that will be very unhappy,” said the official in a veiled threat.
He then went on to promise a bright future for the Muslims only if they identified themselves as Bengalis. “Look at our relationship with the Hindus,” he said, “we look forward to establish similar relationships with you.”
Although Hindus in Arakan were regarded as foreigners, they have been issued mostly with green identity cards implying foreign citizens who have been naturalised. They don’t receive the same status as Rakhines but enjoy a higher position in the system than Rohingya Muslims.
The official then spoke about the Rakhines of Bangladesh. “There are many Rakhines in Bangladesh. They are not driven out of Bangladesh. Similarly Bengali people in Myanmar will not be driven out. But they must confess they are Bengalis, like the Rakhines in Bangladesh say they are Rakhine.”