Rohingya Extremist Group Links to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army

The security operations in Northern Rakhine State in Myanmar in response to the attacks on police and military posts launched on August 25, 2017 by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) triggered the largest and swiftest refugee exodus witnessed in the region in recent decades.

“With numbers at times reaching 20,000 people per day, 471,000 Rohingyas are estimate to have, as of the date of issuance of this appeal, sought safety in Bangladesh, principally in Cox’s Bazar District. There, they have joined 33,000 Rohingyas registered as refugees in the camps in Kutupalong and Nayapara, as well as an estimated 274,500 others, mainly in so-called makeshift camps, and who are denoted as “undocumented Myanmar nationals”.

A larger group of 778 Rohingya were investigated and charged under Myanmar’s criminal code, weapons acts, anti-terrorist act, or the Unlawful Associations Act, for their alleged affiliation with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The ARSA carried out attacks on three border guard stations in northern Rakhine state in October 2016 and on 30 police outposts and an army base in the region in August 2017.

Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army persuade the young people using religious extremism, and they have financial support from outside. There is a possibility that Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army cadres may try to find resonance to their cause in Bengali-speaking areas of India and try to connect with fundamentalists to further their cause. Illegal migrants are vulnerable for getting recruited by such terrorist Organizations. Infiltration from the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar into the Territory of India is a matter of concern.

Islamic State (IS) has had its eye on the Rohingya for a while. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announcing his group’s so-called caliphate in 2014, included a reference to the situation in Myanmar as he enumerated the “crimes” being perpetrated on Muslims.

In the light of the above, Government of India may want to trace and track such population and deport them to Myanmar. The Government of India should continue to conduct Identification and Verification Process of Rohingya and should not rely upon the Identification and verification process of the UNHCR India, as their Identification and verification process is weak, which is based on preponderance of evidences only. Verification may be done of all the Rohingya Asylum Seekers and Refugees, who have been given Asylum and Refugee Status under the Mandate of UNHCR India.

In fact State Government and UTs have power to Identify and deport Foreign Nationals staying illegal in the Country. A task force may be created with Ministry of Home as a Focal point for more coordinated effort in the identification and verification of Rohingya Population and Persons affiliated with the Terrorist Organization such as ARSA.

A mapping can be done of all the illegal Rohingya Population living in India. The Border Security Force and the Intelligence can be sensitized more on the travel route of Rohingya Population from Myanmar to India and their activities in India. All Madrasa in India should be in radar of the Intelligence as many young men of fighting age from the Northern Rakhine State stays in Madrasa and get radicalized.