Monks 'to boycott' Suu Kyi's brother

Jan 25, 2010 (DVB), A prominent Burmese monks group will boycott religious services for Aung San Suu Kyi's estranged brother unless he backs away from a dispute regarding her Rangoon house-cum-prison.

The dilapidated lakeside compound that opposition leader has been held in for 14 of the past 20 years has become the subject of a legal dispute. Suu Kyi's brother, Aung San Oo, claims part ownership of the house, and has blocked a bid by Suu Kyi to renovate the property and boost security.

A statement released by the All Burma Monks' Association (ABMA) yesterday said that Aung San Oo should drop the lawsuit blocking the renovation, and stop collaborating with the Burmese government.

"The AMBA is disappointed to see U Aung San Oo turning a blind eye to his status as a son of [Burmese independence hero] General Aung San and to the hardship faced by the people in Burma," it said, adding that Suu Kyi's brother was a "tool of the [ruling] generals" in Burma.

Aung San Oo first claimed part-ownership of the house, which had belonged to their mother Khin Kyi, in 2000, amid speculation that he would then sell his half-share to the Burmese junta.

The courts however blocked the case, citing his status as a US citizen. It is illegal for foreign citizens to own property in Burma.

ABMA member U Zawana said that the latest lawsuit was "an obstacle to achieving democracy in Burma," adding that "harassing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the people's leader, is harassing our democratic effort."

Fellow monk U Maydawii said that the group may enact the boycott, or Pattanikkujjana, against Aung San Oo unless he drops the case by 31 January.

"If he doesn't step back then we will notify all the monks inside and outside of the country to start the boycott against Aung San Oo and his family from 1 February," he said.

The last time the boycott was enacted was in November last year when junta chief Than Shwe visited Sri Lanka. Burmese monks living there said that the boycott that began following the bloody September 2007 uprising had not been lifted, and would reject any donations from Than Shwe.

The giving of donations to monks is seen as a symbolically important 'merit making' act within Buddhist tradition, and the refusal of this can carry negative ramifications for religious concepts, such as karma.

Reporting by Khin Yupar

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