Minister for Religious Affairs Warns Burmese Monks of 1988 Beheadings

For some reason, whoever runs the website of Burma’s Ministry of Religious Affairs hasn’t felt the need to update it for the past few weeks. The New Light of Myanmar, though, has been keeping up-to-date, and gives the text of a “supplication” made by Minister for Religious Affairs Brig-Gen Thura Myint Maung:

…Some global powers who practise hegemonism totally dislike the proposed Constitution as it contains stipulations assuring self-determination and prohibiting the stationing of foreign troops on Myanmar soil. Hence, those powers in collusion with a group of destructionists from inside the nation are stirring up disturbances.

The protest walk occurring in Myanmar is one of the plots systematically manipulated from abroad.

Internal and external destructionists do not even spare the religion if it is in their interest. They dare instigate young monks, who are trying hard in the religious studies, to stage street protests.

First, those internal and external saboteurs tried to penetrate and instigate students, workers and the public. The people who still remember the beheadings of persons of own race alive in crowded places during 1988 unrest due to their instigation are against unrest. Hence, the people are able to resist all agitations.

Thura Myint Maung’s personal involvement in those events is recorded in a statement in this Congressional Committee record:

I would now like to talk briefly about the events surrounding the attack against Suu Kyi and her NLD members on the evening of May 30th in Depayin Township…The assault was a carefully planned attack against [Aung San Suu Kyi] that, according to first-hand accounts, resulted in the murder of upwards of 100 people who were clubbed to death or impaled on iron rods. Scores of others were severely beaten and women accompanying Suu Kyi were dragged off and raped. The culprits were several hundred thugs recruited from jails and members of the regime’s local political apparatus who were directed by high-level SPDC officers. We now know exactly what happened and the names of those responsible for organizing the assault thanks to the courage of many people in Burma who risked their lives to make sure the truth was made known to the international community. These murders lie squarely on the shoulders of Gen. Than Swe who ordered the attack and his subordinates who carried it out. Their names are Brigadier General Thura Myint Maung and chairman of the junta’s district branch, Lt. Col. Myint Lwin. A local village leader, Thein Aung, also played a key role in the massacre.

This sanguinary background doesn’t appear to have inconvenienced his foreign travel too much – in 2004 he took part in the Fourth World Buddhist Summit in Japan.

Meanwhile, backing the government is the impressively titled – deep breath – Magway Sayadaw Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika Bhaddanta Kumara. According to his statement

I hereby give Ovada (enforce rules and regulations) for all members of the Sangha [i.e. Buddhist monks] to strictly follow the directives articulated in Directive Nos 81, 83, 85 and 65 prescribed by prominent and eminent Sayadaws…not to commit any activities that are not related to Gantha Dhura (teaching and learning the Teachings of the Buddha) and Vipassana Dhura (meditation).

Magway Sayadaw Bhaddanta Kumara is a committee Chairman of the State Sangha, and he takes part in various ceremonies with members of the government. Last summer, Minister Thura Myint Maung seemed to think all was going very well with government control of the monasteries:

The minister said it is heartening to see that Sayadaws and members of Sangha, the government and disciples are taking part in their respective roles for the perpetuation of Buddhism.

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