Saturday, 3 September 2016

By Amn Ullah

If two brothers cannot live together they must live apart independently of each other”. Sultan Mahmud Sultan Mahmud was a prominent leader of Burma and Muslims of Arakan. He was born and brought up at Akyab and educated at Calcutta. Mr. Sultan Mahmud was ex-cabinet secretary, an important post in British India legislative Assembly.
He contested in the bye-election for Buthidaung North constituency in 1957 and elected. He was inducted into the Cabinet of U NU as Health Minister. During his tenure of Health Ministry, Akyab General Hospital, Buthidaung Hospital, and numerous health centers in Maungdaw and Buthidaung rural area were established. Shaheb bazzar State Middle School, Minglagyi State Middle School (later Ngakura State Middle School) and many primary schools were establish by approaching Education Ministry. In his initiative some Rohingya students also sent to England on state scholarships.
While U Nu was launching democratic movement against the army rule of Ne Win, some of his ministers went across the border to meet him. Mr. Sultan Mahmud secretly crossed to the East Pakistan.
After winning in the 1960 general election, U Nu appointed an inquiry commission to study the entire problem involved in the question of Arakan. According to the report of that commission 80% of the people of Sandoway opposed the Arakan state. If the state is granted they want to remain in Burma by incorporating Sandoway with the Bassein District. 50% of people from Kyaukpyu District opposed the granting of the state. The Muslims of Northern Arakan did not want Arakan State. They requested to keep them under Burma proper if the state is granted. However, 90% of people of Akyab District want the state. The Commission recommended for the plebiscite to grant the state of Arakan.
Mr. Sultan Mahmud demanded a Muslim state comprising the region from the Kaladan River to Naaf River, pointing out that in 1666, Shaista Kahn had conquered up to Kaladan River. Since then the Kaladan River became a permanent border between the Rakhine and Rohingya majority areas. Muslim state was the platform of the election of ‘Mr. Sultan Mahmud and his colleagues’ in 1960 election. They won the election with the slogan of Muslim state.
In the memorandum submitted to the enquiry commission by the organization of Arakanese Muslims (of Sultan Mahmud), it was explained that they would support the “State” only on two conditions: if the Arakanese Buddhists would support their demands; and if the constitutions of the “State” would include, specifically, religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative, and educational guarantees for Muslims. The Head of State of the new “State” of Arakan would alternate: once a Muslim and once a non-Muslim.
When the Head of State was a Muslim, the Speaker of the State Council would be a non-Muslim, but his deputy, a Muslim; and vice versa. The same arrangement would also be in effect in the appointments, committees and other bodies. No less than one-third of the “State’s” ministers were to be Muslims. No law affecting Muslims would be passed unless and until the majority of the Muslim Members of the Council voted for it. In the matter of appointments to jobs in Muslim areas, the Chief of State would act on the advice of the Muslim Members of his Cabinet. In all appointments to government posts, to public services, to municipal positions and the like, Muslims would enjoy a just proportion in accordance with their percentage in the population. In filling the appointments allotted to Muslims, the Muslim candidates would compete among themselves.
The government would attentatively meet the educational and economic needs of the Muslims. No pupil would be forced to participate in religious classes not of his own religion. Every religious sect would be allowed training in his own religion in all institutions of learning. Every and any religious sect would be permitted to set up its own educational institutions that would be recognized by the government. Muslims would be completely free to develop their own special Rohinga language and culture, and to spread their religion. A special officer for Muslim Affairs would be appointed whose job it would be to investigate complaints and obstructions, and to report on them to the Chief of State. For a period of ten years from the date of the establishment of the “State”, the right would be reserved to every district – and especially to those of northern Arakan – to secede from the “State” and transfer itself to the direct jurisdiction of the central government in Rangoon. Those supporting these demands suggested bearing in mind the examples offered by the viable arrangements existing between the Muslims and Christians in Lebanon, between the Greeks and Turks in Cyprus, and among the Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Pakistanis in Singapore; only such just arrangements between Muslims and Buddhists could vouch for the success of the State of Arakan.
The following is the copy of Memorandum that was submitted on October 20, 1960 By Mr. Sultan Mahmud and his colleagues to the Chairman and Members of Statehood Consultative Committee.


A Rohingya teenage girl have been beaten and tortured inhumanly by police, and extorted money for release on 26th August 2016.
The victim is identified to be Akala, 13, D/O Siddiq who hails Anaprang Village, Rathedaung. Innocent Akala is a teenage girl who sells snacks for daily livelihood.
The current village head Maung Maung S/O Abdul Hakim of Anaprang, who is well known for committing crimes along with authorities was not elected by the villagers. But he bribed authorities with 80, 00000 Kyats and became village head again on January 2016.
Since then he started taking revenge from the villagers who did not vote for him. Following that pretext Akala too became a victim of his injustice act.
In the incidence Akala had a fight with a nearby lady, who is a relative of the current notorious village head. So labeling this as an issue he called police and made her arrested.
After reaching to the police station, police inhumanely tortured her in every possible way by not sparing a single part of her body. Due to intolerable torture her parents had to sell their home and pay 25, 0000 Kyats to police for her release.
Torturing, beating to death and rape on Rohingya women in another genocidal tool used by Burmese regime, in which minor innocent girls like Akala have to pay the price for living in their own ancestral land.

By Aman Ullah

Since the holding of the Constituent Assembly elections till 1962 military takeover 3 general elections were held for both houses of Parliament in 1951, 1956 and 1960 respectively. In 1951 general elections Muslims won 5 seats, four in the Lower House and one in the Upper House. The AFPFL won 3 seats and the rest were captured by Ra-Ta-Nya (Rakhaing National United Organisation). The Muslims had no political party of their own. They stood either as independents or supportive group of AFPFL. In 1956 general elections Muslims retained all their five seats of north Arakan. The Ra-Ta-Nya won only about one third of the total seats; the rest were captured by AFPFL. Muslim MPs elected to the Parliament in 1956 were Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Mr. Abul Khair, Mr. Ezhar Mian, Mr. Abul Basher and Mr. Abdul Ghaffar. Prominent elected members of Ra-Ta-Nya were U Kyaw Min, U Maung Kyaw Zan, U Hla Tun Pru, U San Tun Khine, U Ba Sein, U Aung Kyaw Khine, U Paw Thein etc. A bye-election was held for Buthidaung north constituency in 1957 as the election of Mr. Ezhar Mian was challenged and the verdict was given against him. Mr. Sultan Mahmud, Ex-Parliamentary Secretary, in British India legislative Assembly, was elected and he was inducted into the cabinet of U Nu as Health minister.
The Rakhaing (Buddhist) members of Parliament formed their own Independent Arakanese Parliamentary Group (IAPG). They pressed for granting ‘State’ to Arakan in the parliament but initially they were not serious. The Rees Williams Commission set up in 1947 to examine the necessity of granting ‘States’ to different areas, earlier, kept aside the question of granting statehood to Arakan. Three more Regional Autonomy Commissions-Regional Autonomy Commission headed by minister U Nyo Tun (a Rakhine) formed in March 1948, Sir Ba Oo Commission formed in October 1948 and Kelleys Commission formed in 1950 — examined the question of granting State to Arakan.
The followings are the objection of Mr Abul Bashor MP from No. 2 of ConstituencyButhidaung and Mr. Abul Khair from No.2 Constituency of MaungDaw:-th the right of Self rule; the power of formation of Army should be vested in the national Parliament only and rather than appointing an Arakan affairs minister and council Arakan division council should be formed which would be more effective. After four years of enquiry, in 1952, although Sir Ba Oo Commission could submit its report on Karen and Mon Affairs, the report of Arakanese Affairs could not be submitted for reasons best known to them. The Kelly Commission was formed under the Chairmanship of Arakan Divisional Commissioner, Mr. Kelly, on 26th July, 1950 to enquire about the possibility of granting ‘State’ to Arakan. Extensive inquiries and investigations were made. But the report of the Kelley Commission was not officially announced. So the question of granting ‘State’ to Arakan lingered on without arriving to a decision. Throughout their Parliamentary tenure the Ra-Ta-Nya members acted in an unfriendly manner against the Rohingyas.
They branded Rohingyas as ‘Kalas’ or Chittagonians and did not recognise Rohingyas as their equals. They always tried to distort the image of the Rohingyas and even accused Muslim MPs of masterminding illegal entry of large number of Chittagonians into Arakan with the tacit approval of AFPFL to win elections. They were allergic to citizenship question of Rohingyas. They incited Buddhist monks of Arakan to stage hunger strike against Mujahid insurrection and to use force against the Muslim Arakanese MPs on the question of making Buddhism State religion of Burma. The hostile attitude of the Ra-Ta-Nya members towards Rohingyas caused Muslim MPs to remain aloof from them and co-operate, rather, with Burman politicians When AFPFL was divided into two factions in 1958 the prospects of achieving Arakan State became very bright. Prime Minister U Nu declared that if he wins in 1960 elections, he would grant Arakan ‘State. Both the factions of AFPFL wooed the IAPC to their respective sides. But the Ra-Ta-Nya decided to support U Nu faction after getting his commitment.
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 Sociology-cultural organisations initiated frantic activities with reference to the Muslim status in Arakan.
Muslim members of Parliament likewise petitioned the government and the enquiry 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.
The followings are the objection of Mr Abul Bashor MP from No. 2 of Constituency Buthidaung and Mr. Abul Khair from No.2 Constituency of MaungDaw:-

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Maung daw, Arakan state, Myanmar (Burma)
I am an independent man who voted to humanitarian aid.