Sasana Theikpan monastery closed without warning

Jun 17, 2008 (DVB), Burmese government officials went to Sasana Theikpan monastery in Bahan township on Friday afternoon and ordered the monastery to shut down and the resident monks to leave the premises.

U Hla Thein, the National League for Democracy’s social welfare secretary and a lay supporter of the monastery, said the officials included the township Peace and Development Council chairman, the township judge and an official from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

"The officials showed up at the monastery and told the monks staying there they had to pack up and leave as the government had shut down the place," Hla Thein said.

"When questioned by abbots at the monastery, the officials said the order came from senior authorities but they didn’t make it clear when the monastery would be allowed to reopen."

Hla Thein said the monks living in the monastery were given no notice that the monastery would be shut down.

"They gave no advance warning about the closure before that , they just showed up on that day and gave the four resident monks one hour to pack up. There used to be nine , the other five have been in Insein prison," he explained.

"This is the third monastery shut down by the government. The first was Sasana Gonye monastery, south of the Six Story pagoda, and the second was Maggin monastery."

The monks are now taking refuge in other monasteries in the Six Story pagoda compounds.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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