Published on Sunday, 09 December 2012 05:33
Thura Myint Maung, Union Minister for Religious Affairs, on December 7 apologised to the monks injured in the crackdown on the Latpadaungtaung protest in central Myanmar.
After the riot police used force to crack down on the protest camps at the Latpadaungtaung mine project on November 29 at 3am, more than 100 people were wounded, including many monks.
On behalf of the government, the minister apologised to the members of State Sangha Mahar Nayaka Committee (executive body of Buddhist monks) at the meeting hall of the building of committee in KabaAye Hill, the state media reported.
The event was attended by 29 monks of the State Sangha Mahar Nayaka Committee, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs-cum-Police Chief Kyaw Kyaw Tun, and heads of respective government departments.
On the occasion, the Minister for Religious Affairs expressed his opinion that those who wanted to politically exploit the Latpadaungtaung protest had swayed the monks in Monywa to become involved in the protest, while the authorities from Sagaing Region government and the monks, who believed it was not an issue of concern to the religious order, dissuaded the monks on November 22 and 23.
However, some monks, out of their affection for the people, got entangled in the affairs of the Latpadaungtaung project, the minister said.
He added that since the increasingly complicated situation at Latpadaungtaung protest camps was against the law, the government had to take action according to procedures: a warning was initially issued to end the protest camps by 12pm November 27, and at 3am November 29, necessary measures were taken to disperse the camps.
A total of 27 monks, four novices and a man were reportedly hospitalised at Monywa Public Hospital, and another 40 monks and novices were also provided medical treatments.
Mandalay Social Help Group arranged to send the injured 99 monks and novices and 11 people to Mandalay.
While 65 monks were hospitalised in Mandalay Hospital, 32 were discharged from the hospital on December 6.
Thura Myint Maung also said that some of the monks and novices were found to be innocent as they were young and had no knowledge of the political tricks of the saboteurs.
Although they were discharging their duty, the policemen have felt deep sadness for the injured ones. The responsible police officers have apologised to the monks for their actions in Monywa.
According to the minister, the government also felt deeply troubled by this incident. It will give special attention to avoid such kind of incidents from occurring again unless it has to discharge its duty in the interests of the state.
He added that a remarkable point about the copper mine incident was that some of the instigators of the protest were not at the protest camps but in villages or other places during the incident and were not injured.
“The government is providing medical treatments to the wounded monks and persons with clear conscience,” the minister was quoted in the state owned New Light of Myanmar.
Bhamo Sayadaw from the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee admonished the young monks and the government. He explained some old stories about the conflicts between monks with examples and evidences and called upon those concerned to avoid such incidents from happening again. Since December 2, 105 people were admitted to Mandalay General Hospital, but most of them were transferred to Kandawnadi Hospital due to lack of space.
Thirty-one patients, including eight monks who were seriously injured, remained at Mandalay General Hospital.
Venerable Theikhanyarna, who suffered the most serious injuries, might be sent to Thailand for treatment.
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