Friday, December 07, 2007

Burma: Security agency forcing villagers to donate for religious festival

Sarapa (Military Intelligence) in Maungdaw Township in Arakan State has been forcing villagers to donate for a Buddhist religious festival since December 1, a village elder said on condition of anonymity.

A Buddhist religious festival is being held today at Bawli Bazaar village tract in Maungdaw Township as an inauguration of the renovated "Wet Kyan Pagoda", organized by Sarapa.
The "Wet Kyan Pagoda" is worshiped by Military Intelligence No.18, which is on duty there.
The Sarapa in Bawli Bazaar has been forcibly collecting money from villagers for renovation of the pagoda which is to be held as a Buddhist religious festival. They have been demanding kyat 1,000 per household since December1, while widows and the very poor have been excluded. They are collecting money from Rohingya and Rakhine villagers from the Bawli Bazaar village tract, said a former village chairman.

The festival is being held from today under the supervision of Sarapa. Rohingya and Rakhine villagers are being forced to participate in the Pwe (Festival). The Pwe will continue for three days, according to a trader in the village.

Source: Kaladan Press Network