More than 20 monasteries have been sued by Naypyidaw Council Ministry of Religious Affairs for refusing to relocate after property was deemed forest land by authorities.
Min Thu, lower house MP, said charging monks and removing monasteries is unfair, and proposed that, “there should be a solution by negotiation, rather than putting monks in jails.”
Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann said that cartographic demarcations aren’t always realistic; many people in in Burma — both within the Sangha and the civilian population — simply do not have sufficient records of land ownership.
“The requirement of ‘strong documentation’ is very controversial. Farmers will not have strong documents because in the past there was no regulation to get them,” he said.
Sayadaw Aindra from Nyaung Hnitpin Monastery, which was removed, said they will continue to dispute the government’s charges that they are illegally occupying land.
“We have records of donations made to us. We built the monastery in line with the rules and regulations of the monk council. We didn’t intrude on forest land or farm land. We didn’t cross the lines of the monk council,” he said.
Of the 37 monasteries that had been built in the Naypyidaw Council’s jurisdiction, 13 were removed and more than 20 are now facing legal action for contesting the order vacate.