By Huson Salm
The immigration department of union of Myanmar has declared that the nationwide enumeration has approximately been collected except Kachine state and part of Rakhine state. Since then, government higher authorities have been interviewing with Burmese programs of Radio Free Asia and Voice of America that the enumeration process phase for Kachine state and north and central part of Rakhine state be extended for additional (8) weeks until the enumeration process accomplished to targeted destination.
The Rohingyas inhabitants from Rakhine state have been in high fear that the remaining enumeration process would be forcefully conducted against the will of the respondents as per the secret direction of higher authorities rather than an accord with UNFPA and the government of Myanmar which was reached between the two counterparts as per the international procedure.
Minister U Khin Ye and U Myint Kyine have been blustering on the air that government will take action against those who will persistently stick the race ‘Rohingyas’ by the enumeration law, enacted by the government. As a matter of fact, in accord the enumeration law, respective enumerators should have had to record as per the respondents in the process. Having been acknowledging the attitude of Minister U Khin Ye and Director General U Myint Kyine by entire Rohingyas, in fact, the enumerators who have been drastically breaking the enumeration law should be taken action rather than Rohingyas who were just respondents, and they are innocent.
Government authorities had repeatedly approached the Rohingyas elders through Rakhine state parliamentarians (Rohingya) of Maungdaw and Buthidaung along the process to persuade the populace as ‘Bengali’ in race tally. Later the government authorities have changed their strategy about the race tally, suggesting the people that they may leave the race tally as ‘blank’, which Rohingyas from Arakan state are being irritated that this blank space in race tally be later filled up as ‘Bengali’ by the immigration officers in free hands behind the respondents.
Having firmly believed by the Rohingya people that they are Rohingyas only and are greatly worried by the enumerators’ attempt to brand them whatever– whether the term Bengali or leaving space as blank in race tally which favors by the enumerators—are the gravely dangerous motivation by the government to be disentrancing the national rights and which totally against the accord between the UNFPA, donors and the government of Myanmar.
There had been Rakhine mass demonstration before the commencing the enumeration, showing their firm stand against the name Rohingyas which Rakhine widely concern latter on– the identity legitimizing as an indigenous status, and an attempt to solve the Rakhine people’ concern by the government, the enumerators were firstly directed not to register the name Rohingya as per the respondents. Anyway, the most interesting point now is that both community, Rohingyas and Rakhine do not like exit the race tally blank, concerning by Rohingyas that the authorities’ enumerators would later fill up as “Bengali” as well as Rakhine Buddhists concern that the government would fill up as Rohingyas in the blank under the advice of international community, learned from grassroots Rakhine and Rohingyas.
In actual fact, government has declared that the enumeration purpose from the beginning is to collect the social data for each and every single national to be able to lay out the wide national plan which to be benefiting merely overall social development regarding the respective ethnic group in the country, and adding that the collected data should not be applied for any particular purpose except for social development plan.
If so, I personally find out a temporary plan to resolve the reef knot which is occurred in the region between Rakhine, Rohingyas and Union government. To have solved the problem; what about to re-design a new form in which no column of “race, religion, and code” tally, which with (38) facts against (41) points right now. I think this is the best solution at this current situation, which neither Rohingya nor Rakhine would have a room to raise objection for the enumeration and the union government would not have too much head-ache too to accomplish a peaceful enumeration process in Rakhine state where there are Rohingyas people residing.
To have a peaceful enumeration in the region, both Rakhine state government and Union government are responsible to handle rationally the communal affairs and to take care of the requirement of oppressed community instead of privileged one.