Maungdaw, Arakan State: The concerned authority is harassing a census educator in Maungdaw since January 2, 2014, according to Halim, a Human Rights Watchdog from Maungdaw.
Nur Alam – school teacher teaching Burmese and English in a religion school – in Done Pite (Aung Seik Pyin) village, Maungdaw north, explaining about forthcoming census to rural areas Rohingya villagers, Halim said.
But, the concerned authority – U Aung Myint Soe, the District Administration officer and U Kyi San, the Township administration officers – are giving trouble and issuing order to arrest Nur Alam for giving education to the people who didn’t know about census and how to answer the questions in the census forms, Halim more added.
The Aung Seik Pyin village admin officer U Maung Mya and his collaborators –Abdullah, son of Nazir Ahmed; Nazir Ahmed, son of Sultan Ahmed; Dil Mohamed ,son of Eman Hussin and Sabir, son of Iddries – informed to the concerned authority that Dil Mohamed is educating the Rohingya villagers how to answer the census forms, said a village administration member.
So, the authority is searching Nur Alam to arrest for his work to explain about census and to say freely their race name as per census’ law, the member said.
Nur Alam explained to the villagers how to say and answers when the census collectors will come to collect their data, especially census form in column 7 and 8 which mention religious and race as it was big issue for Rohingya community. He explained to villagers to say in column 7 “Islam” and column 8 “Rohingya” because the census leaflet said to answer correct without fear and free. In the leaflet and forms also mention that all data for census will use for only census related not for investigate and it also mention that it is not necessary to answer same as family list-form 66/6- and National Registration Card – NRC, said a teacher from Maungdaw.
The Immigration Minister U Khin Ye explained in the Census collection explanation meeting to the ethnic armed organizations at Holiday Inn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 30 December, 2013 that the government assures the data will not be used for political, military and any other unlawful purposes and asked to the ethnic leaders to cooperate and assist the government successful data collection. The minister said to decide the ethnic race and ethnic identity by the ethnic themselves.
But, Maungdaw high level officer U Aung Myint Soe and U Kyi San had ordered to the village admin officer at the monthly meeting to use the name or data as per family list or NRC which the immigration used before Rohingya which is totally against the Census law and its program, said Abul Hakim (not real name) who attended the meeting.
The officers ordered to village admin officers to force villagers not to use “Rohingya”, use only “Bengali” and also ordered to admin officers who used “Rohingya” as race will face jail term which is against the census’ law. The Immigration officers who are going to verify operation of family list and members also forcing Rohingya community to use “Bengali” not “Rohingya”, Abul Hakim said.
In the census process, all the Rohingya are willing to use their race “Rohingya” not “Bengali”, but , the authorities are forcing and harassing our community not to use “Rohingya” and the authority restricted the Rohingya educators not to give explanation about the census process. We request to Minister to explain census ‘law is different within Burma territory areas or same all, said a politician from Maungdaw.