Ali Johar Maung Thein Shwe is a Rohingya youth leader. He was all ready to deliver a lecture titled: “Being a Rohingya Muslim” at the Arts Faculty lawn in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in the evening, but he could not as the event was cancelled after protests by organisations, including the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), reported Times of India.
A few days ago Ali, the first person in a graduate course from his community in India, had delivered a lecture on the same topic in Ghaffar Manzil in Okhla a few days ago.
Although police claimed that the talk was cancelled because no permission had been sought for it, event organisers said it was done under pressure from several groups, reported TOI.
“It is unfortunate that the event was cancelled. I was only trying to highlight the plight of my community, which seems to have been abandoned by the Indian government during this period of extreme crisis,” said Johar, 22.
“We had to cancel at the last moment following instructions from the university authorities. Some groups and the Aligarh administration contacted AMU and informed them that Johar was involved with a terrorist organisation,” said Sharjil Usmani, an AMU student and organiser of the event.
“Such talks should not be allowed in Aligarh. I spoke to the local administration and warned them that such events could create tension,” said Mahendra Pratap Singh, member of the state executive committee of the BJP, former state president of ABVP and also nominated member of the monitoring committee for central universities, reported TOI.
Johar and his father Amanullah had fled the country after the arrest of his father in 2005. They are originally from Buthidaung town in Rakhine state in Myanmar.
“In Bangladesh, we bought a house and restaurant in the name of a local resident. But the land was acquired by the government for an airport and we lost everything again. We were penniless, so we moved to India in 2012,” Johar told TOI at Aligarh. It is reported that after landing in India, he and his father worked as construction labourers for six months. However, with the help of UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) I managed to finish school in Delhi.
“We too are human beings, and don’t want to live inhuman lives. We have becomes aliens because of the system of governance there and because of our religion. My parents have learnt Hindi and stay in a refugee camp near Kalindi Kunj in South Delhi. We get no help except permission to live here, and now that too is in danger,” Johar said.