Burma Times Correspondent: August 24, 2015
Buddhist nationalists in the Akyab area have stepped up pressure on their co-religionists not to conduct business with Rohingyas in IDP camps. As a result, stranded Rohingyas have once again been left without access to food and other essential supplies.
Buddhist nationalist groups in the area whose influence has increased steadily are preaching a boycott on business activities with all Muslims since the riots of 2012. Many Rakhine entrepreneurs who conducted business with Rohingyas have been beaten up and publicly humiliated by the nationalists. Even then, many Rakhines, on the look out for potential business opportunities with the stranded Rohingyas have maintained a clandestine operation. This has proved to be a vital lifeline for the Rohingyas who are forbidden to move out of their neighbourhoods and remain guarded by security forces round the clock.
For the time being at least, the business has stopped, as nationalists have intensified vigilance around the Rohingya areas. At this moment, no supplies are getting into the Rohingya camps leading to food shortages and increasing misery for the Rohingyas already battered by floods and ration cuts.
Following the 2012 riots, Rohingyas and Rakhines reside in segregated areas. Rohingyas are strictly forbidden from moving out of their neighbourhoods and in many areas are totally dependent on foreign remittances for their survival. However without the supply of food into their blockaded zones in Akyab township, money has little value.
Akyab, once a township where Rakhines held only a slim majority over Rohingyas have undergone a drastic demographic transition since 2012 in favour of the Rakhine community with the Muslims confined in camps or expelled altogether.
Along with the floods, the whole scenario is steadily getting from bad to worse for the IDPs, according to local sources. According to some estimates, almost one fifth of the Rohingya population might be IDPs.