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Monastery raided in Rangoon, abbot arrested: AAPP

September 5, 2008

From Mizzima

The Thailand based Assistance Association of Political Prisoners said, a Buddhist monastery in Rangoon’s suburban township of Thanlyin was raided in the early hours of Friday by 23 people in plainclothes. They took away Thilawunthah the 58-year old abbot of the monastery.

The AAPP said a group of people, who came in three vehicles, including a car owned by the township authorities (Ma .Ya. Kah), raided the Mala Yone Monastery and arrested its abbot Sayadaw Thilawunthah.

Tate Naing, secretary of the AAPP, citing local sources said, “Twenty-three people in plainclothes at around 2:00 a.m. came in three cars and raided the Mala Yone Monastery in Thanlyin township of Rangoon.”

Tate Naing said, among the three vehicles used by the raiders, one is owned by the Township Peaceful and Development Council (TDPC). He added that the vehicle indicated the raiders were sent by the authorities in plainclothes.

“When they raided the monastery they forced all the monks to lie down on the floor,” said Tate Naing. “This kind of action is very disturbing and an insult to the religion.”

However, Tate Naing said the reason for the raid was still not clear.

“They reportedly searched the monastery but did not find anything. We heard abbot U Thilawunthah had not come back to the monastery,” Tate Naing said.

While the information on the raid cannot be independently verified, sources said there is increased vigilance over Buddhist monasteries in Rangoon and several other cities across the country.

Sources in central Burma said the authorities have forced abbots of monasteries to sign a pledge not to allow its monks from leading any kind of anti-government protests.

Buddhist monks were at the fore-front of mass protests in September last year after the government suddenly hiked fuel prices.

As the protests gained momentum, on September 26, the military conducted midnight raids in several key monasteries across the country, beating, killing and arresting thousands of monks.

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