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Burmese military and opposition hold ceremonies to honour seniors

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Burmese Buddhist customs traditionally pay homage to elderly people and senior leaders during Full Moon Day or Thadingyut (on the Burmese calendar). This year was no different with the political community holding ceremonies throughout Burma. 

On Wednesday, the headquarters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Bahan Township in Rangoon held a special ceremony, NLD spokesman Ohn Kyaing told Mizzima.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the General-Secretary of the National League for Democracy, speaks during a ceremony to honour elder leaders in Rangoon on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. Photo: Mizzima“We paid homage to central executive committee members who are over 80. The ceremonies were held continuously. Aung San Suu Kyi, the women’s group, the NLD youth working group, and NLD leaders from states and regions paid homage to elderly politicians,” Ohn Kyaing said.

NLD leaders Aung Shwe (95), Lwin (89), Lun Tin (91) and Nyunt Wai (84) could not appear at the ceremonies because of health problems. Attending the ceremonies were NLD leaders Tin Oo (86), Than Tun (89), Hla Pe (85) and Win Tin (82).

Similarly, students from the NLD-supported Bayda Institute and Mom’s Home charity schools paid homage to Tin Oo, Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Tin. Soe Tint and his family from Taninthayi Region paid homage to 12 NLD leaders.

On Wednesday afternoon, former political prisoners paid their respects to Tin Oo, Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Tin at the Tawwin Hninzi Restaurant.

While the political dissidents were paying homage to their leaders, current Commander-in-Chief General Min Aung Hlaing and senior leaders of the government paid homage to former Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Than Shwe, according to a source close to Naypyitaw.

According to the source, the ceremony was held in military headquarters in Naypyitaw at 10 a.m. and Vice President Thihathura Tin Aung Myint Oo, Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann, Vice President Sai Mauk Kham and families from the military attended the gathering. 

Since April, former dictator Than Shwe and former military second-in-command Maung Aye have not appeared in public.

In April, Maung Aye attended the opening ceremony of a pavilion at the annual water festival in Rangoon.
Former political prisoners and supporters paid homage to National League for Democracy leaders Tin Oo, Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Tin at the Tawwin Hninzi Restaurant in Rangoon on Wednesday, October 13, 2011. Photo: MizzimaSome members of the opposition say Than Shwe still controls Burma behind the scenes, and still influences military affairs. A source close to Naypyitaw told Mizzima that Than Shwe keeps in touch with the current government leaders.

President Thein Sein began an official four-day visit to India on Wednesday, and attended a special ceremony at Bodh Gaya in Gaya, India, the site where Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment.

It is unusual that current leaders pay homage to a former military leader, Mu Mu Thein, the wife of former Brigadier General Aung Gyi, told Mizzima. Aung Gyi is one of the former military leaders who was involved in the coup that was led by General Ne Win in 1962.

“There have been no events like that. I’ve never heard of it before. There was no event in which they paid homage to General Ne Win. At that time, it was hard for former leaders to contact existing leaders. Now, there is little change. Earlier, when a military leader quit the army, other military officers rarely contacted them. In this case, he resigned, but [existing leaders] meet with him,” Mu Mu Thein said.

On Wednesday, Aung Gyi, 93, received homage from his relatives, she said, but nobody from the army paid homage to him [Aung Gyi].
Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 October 2011 15:32 )  

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