The Election Commission (EC) has adopted special measures in 32 Upazilas in southern Bangladesh to prevent Rohingya refugees from being listed as voters in the updated electoral roll, reports bdnews24.com.
The EC issued a 10 point directive to its field officials to implement the measures on Thursday during a coordination meeting before collecting data to update the voter roll on Apr 23.The 32 Upazilas in Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, and Chattogram have been declared ‘special areas’ for the upcoming survey, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told the media.
The EC has formed special 15-strong panels in these Upazilas headed by upazila nirbahi officers, or UNOs.
“We have taken the initiative to ensure that the Rohingyas are not included in the voter list. We have introduced a special voter registration form. Voters will only be enrolled under the recommendation of the special committee headed by the UNO in the special areas.” The special upazilas with Rohingya habitants are: Sadar Upazila, Chakoria, Teknaf, Ramu, Pekua, Ukhiya, Maheshkhali, and Kutubdia in Cox’s Bazar; Sadar Upazila, Ruma, Thanchi, Boangchhari, Alikadam, Lama and Naikhangchhari in Bandarban; Sadar Upazila, Langdu, Rajasthali, Bilaichhari, Kaptai, Baghaichhari, Jurachhari, and Barkal in Rangamati; and Boalkhali, Patiya, Anowara, Chandanaish, Satkania, Lohagara, Bashkhali, Rangunia and Karnaphuli in Chattogram.
The EC has issued a directive requiring awareness programmes and campaigns to be conducted at the field level ahead of the upcoming voter list update, said the EC secretary.
Authorities have also been urged to run separate campaigns through students at educational institutes, imams at mosques, women and the local government ministry in an effort to include the common people.