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ABYMU tells junta to stop arresting monks, sealing monasteries

by Htein Linn, Mizzima News, December 5, 2007

New Delhi, India -- Disgusted with the Burmese military junta's relentless persecution of monks, the India based All Burma Young Monks Union today called on the regime to stop persecuting religious leaders and to reopen Buddhist monasteries it has sealed as a vendetta in connection with the September monk-led protests.

Continuing with the crackdown on those involved in the September protests led by monks, the Burmese military authorities have arrested several hundred monks and sealed monasteries including Maggin monastery in Rangoon's Thingankyun Township, forcing monks and novices to shift to other places.

The ABYMU, during a protest rally held on Wednesday in New Delhi, said the Burmese junta in its crackdown on monks and novices, who took part in the recent protests, is destroying, defaming and doing incalculable damage to the Buddhist religion. The group demanded that the junta immediately stop arresting and torturing Buddhist clergy and to reopen all monasteries it has sealed.

"The junta is continuing to arrest monks and seal monasteries, leaving the monks and novices with no place to live. We protest against the junta's blasphemous acts in sealing the Maggin monastery and trying to send off its abbot to his own native place," the ABYMU Chairman, U Pyinnawarah, told Mizzima.

Authorities on November 29 sealed Maggin Monastery, which is also famous for sheltering HIV/AIDS patients who come from rural areas for treatment in Rangoon. It forced the abbot of the monastery, U Nandiyah and another monk, six novices and two laymen to leave the monastery.

The authorities are planning to send the abbot to his native home town in Magwe division, central Burma.

"This only shows that the junta can brutally suppress not only Buddhism but also all other religions. So, we cannot just sit and watch these acts. I urge all democratic forces to join hands and stand against this evil government," added U Pyinnyawarah.

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