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Burmese junta accused of destroying Buddhism

Mizzima news, October 4, 2007

300 monks lead protests in Bodhgaya against Burmese rulers' atrocities

Bodhgaya, India -- The Burmese military junta has been accused of destroying the Buddhist religion by over 300 monks from more than 10 nations on Thursday when they held peaceful protest rallies in Bodhgaya, in India's Bihar state. They condemned the Burmese junta's brutal crackdown on Buddhist monks.

Monks from Burma, Bhutan, Japan, Sri Lanka, Tibet , Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Germany , Mongolia and India on Thursday marched from Beiku Sangha area to the Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, chanting and reciting Metta Sutta, the Buddhist words on loving kindness.

"We are marching and reciting the metta as the Burmese junta is now destroying Buddhism in Burma. We are praying for our fellow monks who are suffering at the hands of the brutal junta for the sake of 'Sangha'," said Sayadaw (abbot) Nanda Wuntha, a Burmese monk, who led the protests.

Meanwhile, the Burmese military junta after opening firing on protesters last week, has continued mid-night raids not only to Buddhist monasteries but also in houses people suspected to have clapped or cheered during the protest.

While the junta officially admits to 10 deaths during the crackdown, activists and diplomats said at least 200 have been killed and at least 6,000 monks and activists have been arrested.

Carrying placards and banners of "Stop Killing Burmese Monks", the monks prayed as they meditated for the return of peace in Burma, where Buddhism can prevail in its true form.

"A lot of people joined us in our march, as they are upset about the prevailing situation in Burma," added Sayadaw Nanda Wuntha.

The protest by monks in the historic Bodhgaya came amidst growing international pressure on the Burmese junta to immediately end crackdowns on monks and dissidents.

The UN Secretary-General, who is scheduled to meet his special advisor Ibrahim Gambari, who concluded a four-day visit to Burma on Tuesday, said that his special envoy had delivered "the strongest possible message" to the junta on the bloody crackdowns on protesters.

Ban added that he is waiting to be briefed by his special envoy before deciding on the next course of action.

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