Rangoon authorities collect monks' personal data

Aug 29, 2008 (DVB), Authorities in the four Dagon townships in Rangoon have begun collecting the full personal details of monks staying in local monasteries, according to residents.

There are hundreds of monasteries in the four townships, including Myin Chan and Ywar Ma lecturing monasteries, each of which houses hundreds of monks.

A local resident said it was usual for the authorities to collect the monks’ personal details every year, but this year they have been collecting more detailed information from each monk.

"Normally, a [government-nominated] Sangha leader would just sign a notification of the monks staying in the monastery for Buddhist lent and that would be it , but this year, they are collecting more thorough personal information," said the resident.

"They are making profiles of each monk with details such as where their families live and what they do and if they have any political background."

He claimed the process is also taking place in many townships across Rangoon including South Okkalapa, Tharkayta, Daw Pon and Shwe Pyi Thar.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Rangoon with military units circling the city in trucks late at night and troops patrolling the streets.

Rangoon residents have speculated that the increase in security is to prevent public demonstrations commemorating the one-year anniversary of last year’s September protests which ended in a violent crackdown.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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