Narinjara News


Census for Bengalis in Sittwe

Sittwe. 16th June 03:
  A census of what the ruling Burmese junta call as the Bengali population in Sittwe Township, the capital of the western Rakhine State in Burma, has been undertaken.

Beginning 12th June, the census has been conducted by a powerful body composed of members of the Military Intelligence, the State Police Department, the Immigration, Township Peace and Development Council (the administrative arm of the ruling State Peace and Development Council junta). 

Our correspondent quoting sources in the administration said that in line with the directives of the Western Commander Major General Maung Oo, a Committee for Census-taking of the “Bengalis” was formed in the township on 10th June 03 consisting of the following executive committee members: 1 U Kyaw Naing       (Chief Township Immigration Department Officer, Sittwe Township); 2 U Khin Maung Than (Immigration Officer, Thay-chhaung, Sittwe Township);  3  U Zaw Zaw Aung (Assistant Immigration Officer, Aung Daing, Sittwe Township);  4  U Tun Myint Aung       (Assistant Immigration Officer, Re-chhan-brung, Sittwe Township);  5  U Kyaw Thein      (Rural Police Officer, Rakhine State Police Headquarters, Sittwe Township);  and, 6  U Tin Aung Zan (Police Officer, District Police Office, Shung-okka, Sittwe Township).

The powerful census committee was formed and has been ordered to carry out the census taking of the present Bengali population of Sittwe Township in conjunction with the military intelligence department and the Township Peace and Development Committee.

In the directive from the western commander there was a mention of the reason for the census as “to check the future infiltration of Bengalis from neighbouring country”.  The census is hoped to be continued for a period stretching between one and five months, sources said. 

Among the Bengali dialect speaking inhabitants of Rakhine State the Burmese junta mark the Muslims as “Bengalis” while they call themselves as “Rohingyas”, while the Baruas (Maramagrees) are Buddhists and there are a few Hindu Bengalis, it was learnt.

In 1978 on the face of such a census dubbed as the Nagamin Operation (Dragon King Operation) thousands of the ‘Bengalis’ as termed by the then ruling Burmese junta in the western Burmese state fled into the neighbouring country of Bangladesh, said an official in the immigration department.  #