Worries over Burmese SPDC junta’s visit to ancient Rakhine city
Mrauk-U, 8th March: On February 28th the Secretary I of the State Peace and Development Council junta of
The city of
A number of renowned businessmen, lawyers and academics have complained to our correspondent that, realizing the popularity of the opposition leader, daughter of Burma’s national hero, Aung San, whose ‘goodwill visit’ to Mrauk-U attracted a huge number of participants last December, a number of high ranking SPDC junta officials have called at the city and have ‘expressed their willingness’ to develop what they termed as ‘border areas’. “This may be because of the utter negligence on the part of the successive Burmese juntas who always took up plans to exploit the entire Rakhine State for funding the beautification campaign conducted in the Burmese capital, Rangoon”, said a retired public service official. “The scale of neglect is so horrible that there is not one town in
“Besides that in the 1970s, by the name of excavating the ancient archaeological site of Vesali, in Rakhine State, funded by UNICEF, the ruling junta at that time, Burmese Socialist Programme Party confiscated all the excavations of artefacts and shipped them to the National Museum in Rangoon,” he further said, ”The excavations unearthed a Sima (Ordination) Hall of the Theravada Buddhism, considered to be the oldest in all over Burma. Then came the plundering. A number of Burmese Army officials forcefully took away many of the ancient Rakhine Buddha images and other artefacts from the collection of the monasteries in the area. The latest of such incidence took place last year, when the noted Sakyamuni Buddha image that had been preserved in the Bandoola monastery of Mrauk-u since the days of the old Rakhine kings was forcefully taken away by the Burmese junta and was moved to Lawkananda Pagoda in Sittwe. Though in the beginning the junta attempted to move the image to
In Mrauk-u there are a large number of ancient Buddha images other priceless artefacts under private collection of a number of Buddhist monasteries. Among them the collection at Bandoola Monastery is considered as most significant. When the abbot of the monastery died on 12th December last the members of the ruling SPDC junta began to pay regular visits to Mrauk-U and make detailed inquiries of the nature and number of the preserved ancient images and other artefacts mostly made of bronze, said a renowned monk in the town.
The Burmese junta in confiscating the Buddha images has been treading the path taken by the Burmese king, Bodawpaya, who is notorious for carrying off the Mahamuni Buddha Image, now enshrined at the
“On March 13 in 1988, a number of Burmese Army personnel were engaged by the Burmese junta to dig the ground under the altar of the ancient Sakkya Mar-aung Pagoda in Mrauk-U by the alleged order of the dictator Ne Win. As soon as the digging began the popular 1988-democracy movement started in
“In the face of the recent visit of junta high-ups to Mrauk-U, residents of the city have become very much concerned about the consequences of what the junta is dubbing as ‘border area development’, which could mean stealing or even robbing the ancient artefacts of Rakhine that people so dearly have held,” the monk concluded.
General Maung Aye, the Vice Chairman of the Burmese SPDC junta also visited the ancient city of Mrauk-U shortly after Daw Aung San suu Kyi held a rally there.#