Police chief defends Maggin monastery closure

Dec 13, 2007 (DVB), Burmese police chief Khin Yi defended the closure of Maggin monastery at a press conference in Naypyidaw on 3 December, in answer to a question from the Flower News Journal.

Khin Yi said that the monastery had been shut down on both law enforcement and religious grounds.

In terms of law enforcement, Khin Yi claimed that Maggin monastery had played an important role in the monk-led demonstrations in Burma in September.

Based on interrogations of those detained in connection with the protests, Khin Yi said that the monastery continued to pose a threat to national stability and order.

Khin Yi did not outline the religious charges against the monastery, but said that the religious authorities had their own reasons.

Security has been tightened in the town of Myothit, Magwe division, where expelled head monk U Nandiya was sent after the closure of Maggin monastery.

U Nandiya, who was the acting abbot of Maggin monastery, had been pressured to return to his home town after the monastery was shut down by local authorities on 29 November.

In Myothit yesterday, police were checking identity cards of everyone entering and leaving the town.

Maggin monastery was targeted for raids and arrests by security forces prior to its closure.

There has been widespread criticism of the government decision to shut down the monastery, which also housed HIV/AIDS patients.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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