Monks offered compensation by government officials

Sep 11, 2007 (DVB), Senior monks in Pakokku, Magwe division, were called to a meeting with high-level government officials on Sunday and offered money as compensation for monks who were beaten and disrobed in last week’s protest over poor economic conditions.

A Pakokku monk told DVB yesterday that the officials included the ruling State Peace and Development Council’s Military Affairs Security Chief Lt-Gen Ye Myint and Minister of Religious Affairs Brig-Gen Thura Myint Maung. Fifteen senior monks from four monasteries in Pakokku were summoned to the meeting and offered 30,000 Kyat as compensation for each monk who was beaten up and disrobed during the soldiers’ crackdown on last week’s monk-led protest.

Some senior monks refused to attend the meeting as a mark of their disappointment with the authorities’ ill-treatment of monks. Those who attended were disappointed to be offered money by the officials but no apology.

"They can’t expect forgiveness from monks just by offering them money as compensation after brutally beating them," said the monk.

An abbot who was present at the meeting reportedly criticised the way the government had lied about the protests in public broadcasts.

"They said in the newspapers that they didn’t mistreat the monks, but now they are admitting their guilt by offering them money," said the monk.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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