Friday, 1 August 2008

Military Authority Donates 70 Million Kyat of Food to Sittwe Monasteries

Sittwe (Narinjara): The Burmese military government donated food worth 70 million kyat recently to monasteries in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, in order to protect against a food shortage in the city's monasteries during the rainy season, said an abbot from Sittwe.

The abbot said, "The donation was made by newly appointed Western Command Commander General Thaung Aye on behalf of the government recently in a donation ceremony that was held at Lawkarnada temple in Sittwe."

At the donation ceremony, 110 abbots from several monasteries in Sittwe attended and received the donation. The western command commander handed over the goods to each monastery during the ceremony.

A local source said that the biggest monastery in Sittwe, Pathein, received 170 rice bags, while another large monastery, Myoma, received 120 rice bags from the government.

"All monasteries in Sittwe received the donation of rice and other goods from the Burmese military government, but there was not equal distribution among the monasteries. If a monastery is close to the authority, it received more rice from the government," the abbot said.

The government donation included three staples - rice, cooking oil, and salt.

Some monasteries, however, refused to accept the government's donation. Zawdi Karron monastery was among those that refused the donation.

The abbot said, "I do not know why the monastery refused to accept the donation, but the monastery maybe wants to live peacefully without any connection to the government."

Government representatives said during the ceremony that the donation is intended to secure food in all the monasteries in Sittwe, and that it is a goodwill present from the military government to the monks in Sittwe.

Many people in Sittwe, though, believe that the donation is intended to aid in organizing monks in support of the military government, and to lure the monks away from involvement with any anti-government protests in Sittwe in the future.

Such a large donation to monks in Sittwe has never been done before by the military government. Because of this, people suppose that the donation has more to do with politics than goodwill.

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