Maungdaw, Arakan State: Rohingya administration officers and elders from Rohingya village tracts under the BGP (Burmese Border Guard Police) area No.6 of Maungdaw north were called to the Ngakura police camp by its head officer and held meeting yesterday regarding the census matter, said one of the participants who denied to be named.
“The meeting was called by in-charge of Ngakura police camp and an immigration officer of Arakan state was also present in the meeting.”
The police officer told in the meeting that on July 21, the authority will start again census for three days. He requested all the participants to advocate other villagers to participate in the census; otherwise, concerned authority will take action against them who defy the order according to the law, another participant said preferring not to be named
The immigration officer also spoke in the meeting and said that “You are similar to the people of Bangladesh and the language is also the same, so, we want to write “Bengali.” But, now, “We write neither “Bengali” nor “Rohingya” in the Form, hence, you are requested to take part in data collection,” said Azim, who also participate in the meeting.
The concerned authorities—police and immigration officers have been trying to collect census of Rohinggya people under the guidance of concerned higher authority since long, but they failed. Though Rohingya community was coerced to sign “Bengali” in place of “Rohingya” in column of Race, the Rohingya community strongly refused to obey their instruction, according to a village elder.
When asked a local Rohingya youth he said, “We were Rohingya in the past, is Rohingya in present and will be Rohingya in future.”
As a result, they frequently called meeting inviting Roheingya people in their camps and asked them to accept “Bengali” instead of “Rohingya.” After July 21, 22 and 23, what would be the situation in Arakan state, said a Rohingya youth from the locality on condition of anonymity.