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Monks under close surveillance

New Delhi (Mizzima) – As the second anniversary of the Saffron Revolution draws near, arrests, searches and monitoring of monks have been stepped up by the authorities in monasteries in Buddhist majority Burma.

Three policemen and an officer from the Religious Department of Magwe division on August 30 raided the room of the head monk U Yaywada of Ngwe Taung monestry in Chauk Township, Magwe Division in Central Burma.

“They came and searched the monastery at about 4.30 p.m. on Sunday. The chief monk was not present when they came and started searching. He has been on a trip for a long time. They searched the chief monk’s room and directed us to inform them when he comes back,” a young monk close to the monestry told Mizzima.

“U Yarwada was said to be active during the Saffron Revolution. I wonder whether that was the reason why they came and searched,” he said.

Similarly, monks from monasteries in Chauk Township said that some monasteries were being watched by policemen in plain clothes.

“We knew the police were from Chauk Township as soon as we saw them. They are found in houses and street corners near the monasteries. Their hand phones are tucked at the waist. Almost all the monasteries are being monitored,” said a monk.

In 2007 September, monk-led demonstrators chanted Metta Sutra and marched on the streets of Rangoon, Mandalay and other big cities.

The demonstrators demanded a dialogue between the military regime and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But the junta cracked down brutally on the demonstrations, using the army, which killed at least 10 people.

Meanwhile, the authorities arrested an assistant chief monk form Shwe Zaydi Parli University monastery in Yenanchaung Township, Magwe division and a young monk from Mandalay monastery in Pakkokku on August 27 and 28.

“I saw the chief monk being arrested and taken in a car. The police from Magwe division and the chairman of the Quarter Peace and Development Council were present,” an eyewitness close to Shwe Zaydi monastery told Mizzima. Later, the chief monk was taken to Rangoon.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 September 2009 18:12 )  

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