Maungdaw, Arakan state: Rohingya villagers were detained and forced to take part in so- called data collection by Border Guard Police (BGP) which Rohingyas refused to participate in government’s so-called population data collection process recently, said Amin, an elder from Maungdaw north.
Government has been trying to take census of Rohingya community since March 31st, but Rohingya community did not take part in census because the authority coerced the Rohingya community to accept “Bengali” in place of “Rohingya”. However, Rohingyas never receive “Bengali” instead of “Rohingya”. As a result, Government is using many tactics to achieve their goal to be succeeded, but so far, the Burmese government fails to complete its policy till now, said Haroon, a student from Maungdaw north.
However, on August 9, a Rohingya youth named Zakariya (20), son of Mohamed Alam, hailed from Wachaung village nearby Bawli Bazar (Kyien Chaung) tract of Maungdaw north was arrested by BGP- Burma Border Guard Police- while he was going to Bawli Bazar by his bicycle from his village. Earlier, his father Mohamed Alam was summoned to their BGP headquarters to take part in so called data collection, but his father was absent from the headquarters. Therefore, his son Zakariya accompanied by his bicycle was arrested instead of his father so far, Haroon said.
The same day, at about 11:45 am, a group of BGP police accompanied by immigration officers entered forcefully to the Nari Bill (Kyauk Pyin Seik) and Faul Kali (Pawet Chaung) villages of Maungdaw north for data collection. While taking data, villagers were being threatened by firing bullets into air, Faraah, a villager elder said.
Besides, on August 10, a couple from Kilaidaung (Ducheeratan) village of Maungdaw south went to Maungdaw town by taking a taxi and they were discussing about the so called population data collection. In their discussion, they said that until and unless, the authority write “Bengali” in place of “Rohingya” in the Form, we will not take part in the census or so-called population data collection. But, this was heard nearby a Rakhine man while the taxi stopped at a road side. After that, it was known to immigration officers and then BGP police officer called them and arrested. After arrest, the couple was severely tortured on the spot, later the husband was brought to their camp leaving the wife on the spot. He was still in detention center, according to a local businessman who denied to be named.
The same day, a group of Hluntin and army entered the Thayai Gonetan village of Maungdaw south at night to take population data collection, but they arrested a Rohingya youth over the allegation that he refused to take part in data collection. But later, he was released after paying Kyat 300,000, said a closed relative of the victim preferring not to be named.
Recently, Maungdaw District officials asked supposed “Rohingya leaders” from Maungdaw and Buthidaung to solve the dispute between the Rohingya community and the population data collection officers in Aley Than Kyaw Village on August 10 as the officers attempted to arrest a Rohingya elder who refused to participate in the survey. In response, local community members tried to prevent the arrest. The so-called Rohingya leaders tried to convince the Rohingya villagers to join the process, showing it is only data collection of family lists, but Mohamed Ibarahin from Maungdaw said these “so-called ‘Rohingya leaders’ are merely collaborators who are helping the government by encouraging Rohingya to participate in the population data collection process and identify as ‘Bengali’.”
The Maungdaw Township Administration officer— U Kyi San, Border Guard Police (BGP) director Tin Ko Ko and its other officers had given the direction to BGP personnel to collect population data collection from Rohingya community, said an aide of BGP.
According to media report, the Burmese government announced that about 140,000 illegal Bengali were listed in northern Arakan. It is a deliberate cheating to the world community. We never accept Bengali, we are Rohingya, said a politician from inside Arakan State.