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Current state of the Sangha members in Burma

The Buddhist Channel, October 1, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia --  Sources located in Yangon, Myanmar have provided confirmed reports to the Buddhist Channel on the status of monks currently detained by the secutiry forces. The informant also said that many civilians are being tortured by their apprehendors.

Last night a senior monk who had been allowed to visit novices held in Burma's notorious Insein jail said several had been sentenced to six years' imprisonment for taking part in the protests.

So far, about 1,000 of Burma's 400,000 monks have been arrested. Tens of thousands more are locked in monasteries, and many more have gone on hunger strike.

The following is a list of atrocities reported from within Yangon.

1. Many monks detained at the Kyte-ka-saw horse racing stadium were seen to be squating outside in the sun under the watchful eyes of soldiers without their robes on. Most of these monks were detained during the street protests which occured from Sept 26 to 29. Many have been forced to wear civilian clothings. A few of the monks are reported to be dying but medication and medical assistance from the outside are not allowed into the stadium.

2. It was reported that more than 700 monks are undergoing a hunger strike in the notorious Insein prison compound. They are refusing food served to them and are doing mainly chanting and meditation.

3. Sources from the Yay way crematorium have said that close to 200 bodies have been cremated thus far (since the protests began). The workers there have said that some of the bodies were badly wounded. There are unconfirmed news that some of the soldiers had burned the bodies without confirming whether they are dead or alive. No medical treatment was provided on standby at the crematorium. People who brought the bodies in are not allowed to contact the dead's next of kin.

4. Three days after Ngwa Kyar Monastery was brutally ransacked, its abbot passed away on Sept 30, 2007. It is reported that an unknown monk has been appointed by the goverment as the new abbot of Ngwa Kyar Monastery.

5. Meanwhile, Sayadaw U Gamiro is on the run and sources have indicated that he is on the hit list of the military junta. Earlier, Sayadaw U Gamiro was quoted by Mizzima news saying that "everyone in Burma is a leader" and called on individuals to "take to the streets in protest against the junta".

"The people should not wait for leaders to lead them, everyone should be a leader in their own right. We have to be individually involved and lead. It is important for everyone to lead at this time. The monks have done a lot and many are now thrown into jails and interrogation camps. And many have to sacrifice their lives," Sayadaw told Mizzima.

"By coming to monasteries in uniforms and arms and guarding the monks, they [the soldiers] are showing the world what they really are. They are not only dictators but terrorists," he added.

"If we cannot go out of the monasteries, there are things we can do inside the monasteries," he said.

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