Dozens of Hindus, most of them children, were massacred by Rohingya militants in northern villages in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on 25 August last year, the same day the militants staged coordinated deadly raids on police posts that led to harsh reprisals, a new report by Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
The killings by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) point to rivalries which remained largely ignored by media between Rohingya and various other ethnic groups.
Until now, the focus was on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in the mainly Buddhist country. The UN had condemned the army crackdown on Rohingya Muslims by soldiers and vigilante mobs who were accused of killing civilians and burning down villages.
Now Rohingya militants have been accused of similar atrocities committed on ethnic Hindus.
The military took reporters to the site where the mass killings of Hindus took place. The media stood witness as bodies of victims were unearthed from a grave in September.
The Amnesty report says at least 53 Hindus, mostly children, were slaughtered in Kha Maung Seik village cluster in northern Maungdaw.
Citing eight Hindus who survived the massacre, Amnesty said masked men and Rohingya villagers rounded up, blindfolded and marched members of the Hindu community out of the village .
Raj Kumar, 18, said all of them were slaughtered by militants and villagers who were armed with knives, spades and iron rods.
Kumar said he hid in a bush and watched with horror his father, brother and uncle being killed in cold blood.
Tirana Hassan of Amnesty International said the atrocities committed by Rohingya militants are a crime against humanity just like the massacre and persecution of Rohingya Muslims by the army.
In nearby Ye Bauk Kyar village, 46 Hindu men, women and children disappeared on the same day. Local Hindus told Amnesty they firmly believed those missing were slaughtered by ARSA.
Hindu community leader Ni Maul told AFP from Rakhine state that while the people behind the massacre of Hindus fled to Bangladesh, the survivors have been denied justice.
People are not interest in the killings of Hindus. They want to read reports of atrocities by the army against the Rohingya, Maul said.