Myanmar’s Rakhine community stops census boycott

Yangon, March 31: Myanmar’s Rakhine ethnic community has stopped boycotting the government’s census, which began Sunday, after the Rakhine state census-taking authorities announced it would not accept the Rohingya as ethnic people, media reported Monday.

Agreeing with the authorities’ move, the Rakhine ethnic people started to join in the census taking operation later Sunday, Xinhua reported citing the media report.

Tension had prevailed in Rakhine state ahead of the nationwide census with thousands of ethnic residents protesting for weeks against the listing of the Rohingyas as Myanmar’s ethnic people in the census.

Rakhine state was once hit by bloody sectarian violence in mid-2012.

Myanmar’s national census, the first in three decades, started Sunday, and is aimed at working out a national development plan.

The 12-day National Population and Housing Census operation will last till April 10.

The rough report on the results of the national census will be released in early 2015, sources said.

Myanmar used to take census once a decade after its independence in 1948. The last two census were conducted in 1973 and 1983, which registered its population as 28.92 million and over 35 million respectively.

After 1983, the once-a-decade nationwide census could not be taken for various reasons including conflict in some areas as well as some inaccessible areas.

Myanmar announced a population of 60.98 million in October 2012.

IANS