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Monday, 11 September, 2000, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Kashmir census fails to start
Census form
The census has been condemned by militants
The second phase of a controversial population census in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has failed to get going because the officials involved did not report for work.

The census had been condemned by a major militant group, the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group which called for a boycott and threatened violence.


Officials feared violence if they took part
The director of census operations in the state, Feroz Ahmed, told the BBC that designated census enumerators in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar, had not even collected forms from ward offices.

He said they had stayed away because of the militant warning.

The militants protested that the count would miss thousands of people who had fled, migrated or were imprisoned or in hiding as a result of the decade-long campaign of violence against Indian rule.

The census plan has also been criticised by a former federal minister from the region, Saifuddin Soz.

Mr Soz said he feared it would not accurately reflect the demographic make-up of India's only Muslim-majority state.

Mr Soz said the count was bound to lower the percentage of Muslims in Kashmir, as it would include casual labourers and paramilitary troops - most of whom are Hindus from other states.

Hizbul Mujahedin has imposed what it calls a ban on the census.

Ceasefire

Last month, the group ended a brief cease-fire with Indian forces after an attempt to get talks going on the future of the disputed territory broke down.

The first phase of the Kashmir census began in May this year, with the deployment of more than 20,000 government workers across the state.

The second phase involves a head count of families in houses and properties already listed in the first phase.

A census is conducted in India every 10 years - the last one was in 1991.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir was left out due to separatist violence.

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See also:

05 Sep 00 | South Asia
Kashmir census to continue
21 Aug 00 | South Asia
Kashmir talks 'may resume soon'
08 Aug 00 | South Asia
Kashmir ceasefire called off
16 May 00 | South Asia
Kashmir census begins
15 Jul 99 | South Asia
Flashpoint Kashmir: Special Report
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