Narinjara news

Burmese troops' order leaves A French Photographer Stranded

Sittwe, 3 April 02:
A French photographer who wanted to visit an ancient Arakanese city in the western part of Burma was denied entry by Burmese security troops, according to our correspondent in Sittwe who quoted a man accompanying the photographer.

The photographer, Mr Gerard, Passport No. FC/00506, had already visited and photographed the ancient sites in Upper Burma including Bagan (Pagan), Nyaung-oo, Pakukku, Pauk, and Sow. To finish his tour across Burma he wanted to go to Mrauk-u, for which he came to Ann via Magwe. When he reached Ann on 25th March he was challenged by the guards at Nasaka security Gate No, 25.

The photographer requested for permission to visit Mrauk-u where he wanted to take photographs of the ancient Arakanese sites as he was a professional photographer who wanted to cover the whole of Burma including the old sites in Arakan.

The guards at the Gate told him that, though he carried both the passport and the visa he did not have the necessary permission to travel into Arakan State. Gerard wanted to know that, while he had no problem roaming around the ancient sites of Upper Burma, why he should have additional permission to visit Arakan State. The Nasaka troops did not have a satisfactory answer to the question. So the troops ordered the car hired by him to go to Sittwe while the Frenchman was stranded at the gate, a man accompanying the Frenchman said to our correspondent.

The name of the driver of the car was U Thein Tun Oo (27), s/o U Sein Win from Noa Hto Gyi township, Quarter No. 4, Mandalay division, and the car number was "1/Khagwe 9442".

The ancient historical sites of Arakan include Mrauk-u destroyed by the Burmese invaders in 1784, where there are a demolished palace site, the massive Shit-thaung, Dukkan-thein, Ratanabon, Andaw-thein temples and pagodas. Hundreds of other ancient stone edifices lay scattered all across the present-day Mrauk-u township in pitiable conditions without care and attention. Besides, vandalism and stealing of artefacts, especially by the encouragement of the ruling SPDC military junta are a very common practice. #