November 30, 2007

Maggin Monastery Shut Down by Burmese Junta

More bad news from Burma: While Aung San Suu Kyi meets again with the representatives of the junta delegated to keep her busy, Maggin monastery, supposedly linked to the protests, is shut down. The abbot of Maggin, Sayadaw U Indaka, has been arrested and is held in an undisclosed location. Maggin Monastery, located in Rangoon, is a sanctuary for HIV / AIDS patients from rural areas seeking treatment in the big city.

"Closing a monastery is unprecedented in recent history," said a Burmese journalist who visited the monastery to confirm the closure. "Authorities have seen Maggin monastery as a camp of political activists. One of the monk leaders of the September uprising was staying in this monastery." On Thursday, plain-clothed police, believed to be from the Township Peace and Development Council, sealed the monastery. Two monks and six novices were forced off the temple grounds, according to the Voice of America. Five AIDs patients were transferred to Wai Ba Gi hospital for infectious diseases in Rangoon's North Okklapa township. Three people with their baskets of belongings were seen sitting in front of the monastery late on Thursday.

"One of the neighbours said authorities told monasteries around there not to accept monks from Maggin monastery," the journalist said.

And there is still no news, only terrible rumors, of the monks and other protesters arrested months ago and still missing. Meanwhile U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari continues to call for Aung San Suu Kyi's release, and plans to return to Burma next month.

- Philip Ryan, Web Editor

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