Monday, 18 November 2019

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Political parties pay homage after mix-up at Martyrs’ Mausoleum

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Eighteen political parties that will contest in this year’s upcoming general elections paid homage at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Bahan Township, Rangoon today for the 63rd Martyrs’ Day, but faced a number of difficulties as one of the function organisers did a U-turn in arrangements.

The Rangoon Division Election Commission called 21 registered parties to their offices last Wednesday to invite them to the ceremony that honours independence leader Aung San, his brother Ba Win, six shadow cabinet ministers and three others who were shot dead in 1947 on the orders of political rival Galon U Saw.

The commission told them seven members from each party could join this function and had to present their delegation lists by yesterday. It also specified that they could wear uniforms where applicable, had to send wreaths to Myaing Gyi Ngu prayer hall one day in advance and allowed them to use party flags and signboards on their cars. Parties were informed they would be served lunch at Pakokku prayer hall, at the north entrance of Shwedagon Pagoda.

However, the delegates were put in a muddle as the commission abruptly changed its plans at short notice yesterday. Some political parties were unaware of the changes so they assembled at the east entrance of Shwedagon Pagoda, according to the commission’s schedule. But the Rangoon office informed them of the alterations by phone only after the ceremony had ended at 10 a.m. and said they could attend the function with unlimited numbers, and according to their own programme.

Democratic Party (Myanmar), Union Democratic Party (UDP), National Democratic Force, Myanmar Democracy Congress, 88-Generation Students and Youths (Union of Myanmar), Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics, National Unity Party (NUP), Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and Diversity and Peace Party were some of the parties’ attending the ceremony.

“No one complained about it as they could attend the ceremony anyway. It’s not good changing the programme frequently at short notice. It shows what they say is not what they actually do”, the Diversity and Peace Party candidate nominated for the Kyimyindine constituency, Aung Myint Oo, said.

“There must be some reason behind this sudden change of plan. Many people assembled at the east entrance of Shwedagon Pagoda. We faced a lot of trouble. Then they informed us that we could come and salute our martyrs at 10 a.m.”, Union Democratic Party chairman Phyo Min Thein said.

Under the junta’s tight security plan, people were banned from taking flags, signboards, mobile phones or ballpoint pens into the mausoleum. They were allowed only to carry wreaths and bouquets that had been inspected the day before.

About 80 youths led by main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party – which has boycotted the upcoming general elections – Youth Wing implementation group members Myint Htay, Aung Soe, Ba Maw and Myo Nyunt, went to Martyrs’ Mausoleum today to pay homage.

“We wore T-shirts with Bogyoke [General] Aung San’s portrait and letters saying Father of Armed Forces Bogyoke Aung San. But we were not allowed to wear these T-shirts in entering the mausoleum,” NLD Youth leader Myo Nyunt said.

The NLD youths also attended the Martyrs’ Day ceremony held at the residence of party vice-chairman Tin Oo this morning and then continued to the Martyrs’ Mausoleum to pay their respects. The ceremony was attended by veteran politicians, Committee Representing People’s Parliament members, ethnic leaders and NLD members totalling about 500 people.

Veteran politicians Thakin Chan Tun and Ohn Maung, Tin Oo and Than Tun delivered speeches on Bogyoke Aung San and other fallen martyrs.

Another NLD party leader Win Tin advised the young people against following in the steps of Sein Gyi, one of the assassins and a disciple of the mastermind behind the killings, Galon U Saw, a political rival of Aung San.

“Young people could be easily misled and instigated by other people and could commit such heinous crimes of assassinating their own leaders and destroying their own organisations despite their great reverence and adoration of these leaders,” Win Tin said. “So young people should be aware of disinformation and whisper campaigns by opposition groups and keep alert themselves on being misled by these people.”

The nine Burmese independence leaders: Aung San, Thakin Mya, Mahn Ba Khaing, the Saopha of Mong Pawng – Sao Sarm Htun, Abdul Razak, Ba Cho, Ba Win, Ohn Maung and bodyguard Maung Htwe; were gunned down on July 19, 1947 by men in uniform while their shadow cabinet meeting was in progress at “The Secretariat” in Rangoon, just months before Burma gained independence in January, 1948.

The assassinations were planned by a rival political group led U Saw. He and the gunmen were tried and convicted by a special tribunal, which on December 30, 1947 sentenced U Saw and a few others to death. The rest were given jail terms. Appeals to the High Court by U Saw and accomplices were rejected on March 8, 1948.

First President of Burma Sao Shwe Thaik refused to pardon or commute the sentences of most of those sentenced to death, and U Saw was hanged at Rangoon’s Insein jail on May 8, 1948. A number of perpetrators met the same fate.

Two British officers were also arrested and one was convicted for supplying an agent of U Saw with hundreds of machine guns and ammunition, a large part of which was recovered from a lake next to U Saw’s house immediately after the shooting.


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