Fifty monks from several monasteries in northern Shan state are being forced off their land by the government’s religious authorities under a claim that they are situated in an army zone.
Ten monasteries on Myasein Hill were sent eviction orders by the local government-backed Head Monk Committee on 27 March, instructing them to leave by the end of April.
The letter said their monasteries were not officially recognised by authorities as religious buildings and that action would be taken against any individuals still living there after the deadline.
One of the monks told DVB: “We don’t want to argue with them. But if they want us to move, then we would like replacement land elsewhere. We stick by the code of the Dhamma to solve this and we won’t use violent methods.”
The monasteries, including Bala Taungon, Neikban Shwegu, Metta Yaykan and Vimoatti, were told that they were within the premises of the Burmese Army’s Eastern Regional Military Command.
Abbots from each monastery were subsequently summoned by the Head Monk Committee to sign a consent form agreeing to move out by the prescribed deadline.
A resident in Taunggyi said the monasteries are spiritually valued by the local community.
“The monasteries are revered by the town’s people and we are sad to see them being kicked out,” he said.
The monks plan to appeal to the President, the Shan State Chief Minister and other government departments.