By Kyaw Thu Win, Aye Min Thu
The local and foreign media interviewed Hindu women who returned to Myanmar from Bangladesh, after they were abducted by ARSA extremist terrorists, at the General Administration Department in Maungtaw on 17 March.
Ma Fomila, Khamaungseik village: It was between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. when terrorists entered our house that day. They tied our hands behind our backs, blindfolded us and ordered us to sit in a row. They beat us with sticks and then murdered all the men. They demanded gold and cash from us, and when they got what they wanted, they took us into the jungle. They ordered eight of us (all women) to sit in a hut. They insulted our religion. They asked us whether we would convert to their religion and marry them. As we were afraid to die, we had to give in to their demands.
The terrorists ordered us to discard our clothes and wear those worn by women of their faith. They then took us to Bangladesh. We reached the other bank at about 11 a.m. the next day. We faced torture and insults from the women of their faith in the other country. To stop them from harassing us, we told them we would convert to their faith and live in love and peace together. The terrorists warned us to tell the media as they had instructed us to do. Or else, they would tell the media that our villagers and the people of our race were killed by the Rakhine people and the military.
One night, they took us to a man named Babu. At that time, more than 1,000 people from their faith were demanding that we be murdered. Babu told the crowd that he would inform the police if we were murdered. We stayed there for some 35 days. We were asked if we wanted to stay back in Bangladesh. We told them we wanted to live on the land where we were brought up under our religion and customs. The government organisations and the ethnic people in Rakhine State never harmed us. We were troubled by the terrorists. So, we told them we wished to go back to Myanmar. With the help of some Hindu religious leaders, we returned to Myanmar on 27 September. Arrangements have been made to provide us with food, clothing and shelter. I have a child. I want a happy life with my relatives at home.
U Ni Maung, Hindu religious leader, Maungtaw region, said: I found through a Facebook page that some 10 Hindu women were abducted by terrorists and taken to Bangladesh. I immediately informed the relevant authorities about the matter. The authorities permitted us to get them back. So, I contacted Hindu religious leaders in Bangladesh and got them back. The government also rendered assistance.
The Maungtaw region had a Hindu population between 1,200 and 1,300. More than 400 Hindus from the region are still in Bangladesh. I want to get them back. Ten women and 16 children have returned from Bangladesh. Local and foreign mediapersons have interviewed them. The Hindus have told the truth, but we were threatened on the phone. Thanks to the government and welfare organisations, Buddhist monks and donors, Hindus who returned from Bangladesh are leading a secure life in Sittway. Initially, there were only three or four donations when they returned to Buthidaung. They were kept in camps, as it was dangerous for them to live in the wards. The religious groups are protecting them.
Some 102 Hindus were butchered by terrorists. We want the government to protect us to prevent the re-occurrence of such tragic events. We thank the local and foreign media, as we can tell them the truth.