Myanmar Coup: All you need to know about it

3 Feb 2021  Read 7697 Views

Lately the headlines can be seen flooded with the absolute distress that Myanmar has been going through. Apparently, the distress is caused as a result of the Rohingya conflict that has taken over the northern parts of the country i.e. the Rakhine State which is distinguished by the factional violence that’s taken place between the Rohingya Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists. There has been a military crackdown also reported on the Rohingya community by the security forces that belong to the Myanmar provinces.

Myanmar- In a Brief

Myanmar is a South-east Asian country formerly known as Burma with a population of around 54 million people speaking Burmese along with other local languages. Buddhism is a predominant religion that is followed in this country however, there are other ethnic groups residing here as well like the Rohingya Muslims. 

Military rule has always been dominant in the country and takes the major political, social and other important decisions. It was a ruling military decision to change the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 probably after the thousands of people getting massacred in a crackdown. However, the military rule continued to dominate only from 1962 to 2011 when after that, the new government initiated to usher in back to civilian rule.

What is the Origin of this Conflict?

The root to these conflicts between both the communities could be traced back in time when the social and religious differences between the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists started to exist and emerged out as the major societal issue there. It was during the World War-II when in Myanmar (then called Burma) the Rohingya Muslims associated with the British in return of a promise that they would receive a Muslim state in return of this association that was promised. So in order to get a Muslim state, the British made Rohingya Muslims to fight the Rakhine Buddhists who in turn were associated or allied with the Japanese. So when in 1948 the country was set independent, then the newly formed Central Government of the country which was predominantly a Buddhist country refused citizenship to the Rohingya Muslims and not just that but also went on to putting them through major systematic discrimination. Hence, this period could be termed as the one that gave rise to the emergence to a lifelong of conflicts arising between the Rohingyas and the rakhines.

This is the time where Rohingya Mujahideen came into the picture and started to fight the government forces. This was done in order to ensure the Rohingya populated region to be situated near the Mayu peninsula in the Northern Arakan gained autonomy or secede so it could be attached to Pakistan's east Bengal provinces. And they did not receive the support they expected with this vision they had and towards the end of the 1950s he had lost the majority of the support and momentum as o a lot of the fighters had surrendered towards the government forces.

Humanitarian crisis

The said controversy between the Rohingyas and the Rakhines has not only led to social and political interruption with the country’s peace but also has resulted in a humanitarian loss. According to a report, almost 6,55,000 to 7,00,000 of Rohingyas have left the country and fled to other places like Bangladesh in just a period of 2-3 months in the year 2017. This was obviously done as a part of the “clearance operations” taken up by the Myanmar’s security forces to avoid any kind of religious persecution. And these are the number of people that joined the already existing number of people there in Bangladesh who fled due to the communal violence that existed.

Later in the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in the 2018, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh had reported the existence of almost 1.1 million of Rohingya Muslims living in Bangladesh. And she also asked for International leader’s help to cooperate with the humanitarian crisis.

Current scenario

After the distress that has been caused in the country currently, the systematic administration has been again taken over by the Military of the country and an ‘emergency’ of one year has been declared in the provinces. This is done keeping in mind the maintenance of social peace in the country. The Military just after taking over, holds the control that was followed by an election in the country that was won by Ms Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s party i.e. the National League for Democracy (NLD). The opposition parties that were putting forward the demand for a re-run of vote due to suspicion of some fraud received the support of the armed forces of the country. However, the election commission held that there was no particular evidence in order to back up the claims made. 

The power is said to be handed over to the Commander-in-chief currently i.e. Min Aung Hlain who has a massive and significant political influence and is also well-known for maintaining the military with full efficiency in the past. Mr. Hlain has also received international condemnation and sanctions for his role in the military attacks on ethnic minorities.

Since currently, when every administrative, political and all the other controls of the country is under the functioning of the Armed forces, it has also replaced a large or numerous ministers and deputies that were deployed in the country. It includes ministers and deputies that are responsible for managing the finance, health, foreign affairs and the interiors of the country. With the armed forces taking over, there is hope for the situation to get back to where it was very soon but again, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that Myanmar needs to come up with a permanent solution to this never-ending conflict of communities. 

Recently, on 27th March the protestors took to the street of Myanmar and it is said that several people were killed by the Myanmar security forces during the demonstrations. Many countries are condemning this act by the military in Myanmar and amidst all this, the United States has suspended a trade agreement with Myanmar until democracy is restored in the country.

About the Author: Shalu Singh | 18 Post(s)

Shalu Shravan Singh, currently a final year law student, and quite enamoured of writing. A music aficionado that’s also a wanderer and desires to visit more of these places.

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