Religious Affairs Minister stripped of title and charged

Religious Affairs Minister stripped of title and charged

Religious Affairs Minister Hsan Hsint, who was dismissed from his position on Thursday, was removed due to his “mishandling” last week of a raid on the Mahasantisukha Monastery last week and also faces charges related to the misuse of money, a presidential spokesman said.

The President’s Office published an order terminating Hsan Hsint from his duty as the Religious Affairs Minister on 19 June, citing his dismissal under Article 235(c)(i) of Burma’s Constitution, which stipulates that the president can order the resignation of any minister “who cannot discharge his duties efficiently”.

Ye Htut, spokesman of the President’s Office, confirmed to DVB that Hsan Hsint had been removed, and is under investigation by the Ministry of Home Affairs on a “money-related charge”. However, Ye Htut claimed he did not know the exact charges handed down to the former minister.

He also said, when speaking to reporters at the Union Parliament in Naypyidaw on Friday, that Hsan Hsint was dismissed for his mismanagement of the dispute at the Mahasantisukha Monastery in Rangoon, and for creating a “misunderstanding” between the government and the Buddhist community.

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On 10 June, police and State Sangha Maha Nayaka raided the Tamwe Township monastery and detained five monks, including the prominent Buddhist leader Uttara, over a longstanding land dispute. The monks were subsequently defrocked and charged for insulting religion and inciting mutiny, a move widely denounced by Burmese public and religious leaders.

“Since the beginning of the dispute, the president had tasked Hsan Hsint with the peaceful implementation of the Sangha Maha Nayaka’s decision, and also to mediate the tension between the two sides,” Ye Htut said. “But U Hsan Hsint’s undertakings, instead of bring about understanding between those in the dispute, had created more dissension and misunderstandings, and — in certain cases – acted beyond the president’s instructions so we had to take action against him.”

According to an official at Naypyidaw’s Uttarathiri Police Station, Hsan Hsint was sent to Yamethin Prison after he was charged.

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