Indian population rapidly declining in Fiji

March 10th, 2009 - 1:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Suva, Mar. 10 (ANI): As people flee the coup-hit nation of Fiji, its ethnic Indian population is rapidly declining, a Government statistic has revealed. Government Statistician Timoci Bainimarama, brother of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama released last year’’s census data on Monday, which shows that Indians now make up only 37.5 percent of the 837,000 people. The dramatic change of the ethnic composition of the population gained momentum with Sitiveni Rabuka’’s 1987 coups and continued in the two further coups between 1996 and 2007, the Stuff quoted Timoci Bainimarama, as saying. In 1966, 51 percent Fiji residents were of Indian origin, which has gone 13.5 percent down in 55 years. In the 11 years to 2007 the Indian population fell 25,020. Another bureau data reveals that 80 percent out of 5000 people who emigrated from Fiji during 2008 were of Indian origin. Commodore Bainimarama staged a military coup in 2006; overthrowing native population dominated democratic government, and was justified by the commodore on the grounds of ending race-based politics in Fiji. The data gathered by his bother, however, suggests that that the Indians, who predominantly supported his coup, are still leaving. Indigenous Fijians made up 56.8 percent of the population, 37.5 percent Indian and the remaining groups including Chinese made up 5.7 percent, the data shows. Declining fertility among the remaining population was counted as another reason of decreasing population in Fiji. Indo-Fijians are mostly descendants of indentured labourers bought in by the British to work on CSR Australia owned sugar plantations. In the 1966 census Indians accounted for 51 percent of the population. The colonial government of Fiji feared that Indians would take over the country, and several complicated measures were taken to ensure indigenous Fijians would never lose their land or political dominance. (ANI)

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