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Army men edit ethnic Kachin newspaper

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – This year the Burmese Army is editing the ‘JingHpaw Mungdaw Nsen’ newspaper published annually in ethnic Kachin language.

The newspaper published by the ‘Manaw’ festival organizing committee commemorating Kachin State Day is now submitting all news, articles to the army under the Northern Command headquarters for editing once it is translated into Burmese language.

“This year, the editing is being done by army officers and soldiers. We have to translate all news and articles written in either English or Kachin into Burmese,” a member of festival organizing committee told Mizzima.

The Regional Command headquarters told them that publishing permission would not be granted unless they abide by the instructions of the army.

Kachin State Day is on January 10. The festival is being held from January 5 to 11 along with the ‘Manaw’ dance.

The newspaper is published annually since 2005 and contains facts on Kachin State, the ethnic Kachin people, their tradition, background, history of Kahcin people and about the guests attending the Manaw festival. The 12-page newspaper was published last year with circulation figures of over 1,500 copies.

Unlike previous years, the military authorities have imposed restrictions this year regarding publication of the newspaper. The regime has warned them not to release inappropriate news.

Thailand-based Kachin News Group (KNG) reported that in Bamo, four members of the festival organizing committee were summoned and questioned by junta officials  for publishing daily newspapers and Manaw festival papers without permission, and selling Manaw festival VCDs during the 2nd Manaw harvest festival.

There is palpable tension among them as the Northern Command Commander Maj. Gen. Soe Win instructed  the ceasefire group ‘Kachin Independence Organization’ (KIO) not to attend the festival in their military uniforms.

“The Manaw festival organizing committee and a Colonel of  the Burmese Army held a meeting regarding the festival. They sent a letter directing KIO not to come to the Manaw festival in military uniforms, but in plainclothes,” a KIO official of the Liaison Office in Myitkyina, Kachin State, said.

Senior KIO  leaders held a separate meeting at their headquarters and decided to send only a KIO representative to the Manaw festival which kick starts tomorrow in Sitarpu Ward in Myitkyina.

Over 1,000 KIO members joined the Kachin State Day and danced in the festival last year.

At  the tenth meeting between KIO delegates and Northern Command Commander held on 29 December last year, the junta  demanded that the KIO present the rights of Kachin people enshrined in the historic Panlong Agreement in detail in written form, KIO sources said.

KIO started their armed struggle on 5 February 1962 for self-determination but they reached a ceasefire agreement with the junta in 1994.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 January 2010 20:24 )  

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