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Monks refuse funeral blessing for militia leader

Nov 28, 2007 (DVB), Local monks have refused to perform a funeral blessing for a notorious senior Swan Arr Shin member from Phaw Kan ward in Insein township who died recently.

Maung Maung, a senior leader of the pro-government militia Swan Arr Shin, was admitted to Insein hospital on 20 November after falling ill and diagnosed with malaria which had affected his brain.

He died at around 1.30 pm on 26 November.

Maung Maung was known for his involvement in the Burmese government's brutal crackdown on monks and civilians taking part in public demonstrations in September.

A senior member of Swan Arr Shin, Maung Maung was said to have been the one who passed on the orders to start beating up monks involved in the protests.

He was rewarded by the regime for his part in the crackdown with money and mobile telephones, which are difficult to get in Burma.

However, when the authorities looked for monks to perform Maung Maung's funeral blessing today, all the monks the approached refused to do so.

They eventually took his body to a monastery in Gyogone and asked the abbot there for a blessing but he also refused.

One local resident linked the timing of Maung Maung's death to his activities during the protests.

"He died on 26 November at around 1.30pm, the exact same time that they started to beat up protestors on 26 September," the Insein resident said.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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