Narinjara News

Bikkhu U Uttama Memorial Park
in Danger of Destruction

Akyab, July 26
: Although Biukkhu U Uttama was the first person who torched the light of Burma freedom, his statue in Akyab now lives in dark because no light is allowed at his statue at night, a teacher from Akyab (Sittwe) said.

The authorities have not only banned the lights at the U Uttama statue, but are also constructing number of buildings in U Uttama Memorial Park, endangering the existence of the park.

The park has become an industrial estate that houses Sittwe Power plant, official residences of Sibunthaya (Municipal) township officer, its deputy engineer, and its security guard. Business is also booming in the park with a barbershop, a large sugarcane juice parlour, a big teahouse, a typist shop, a photo studio, and a daycare center, according to a prominent philanthropist from Akyab.

In old days, there existed only the daycare center. The new buildings have been erected recently. U Uttama Park is situated at the city center of Akyab. Taking advantage of its central position the authorities planned to rezone it as a business district, and to build shopping malls around the park. The plan was abandoned due to the strong opposition put up by the residents.

Despite existence of the city power plant right inside the park it is an irony to ban the lights of U Uttama Statue. As per information received by the Narinjara, the City Lights Committee Chairman U Maung Tun Kyaw explains that the statue lights are banned in order to avoid unnecessary harassment form the city intelligence personnel. The report from Akyab, also expresses grave environmental concern about the trees and floral fauna of the park facing extinction due to the pollution that is being generated by the diesel-burning power plant.

It is learned that the Burmese authorities have already closed Rangoon U Uttama Park and U Uttama biography has been eliminated from the primary school curricula. It appears that the Burma military rulers are systematically erasing historical existence of U Uttama who is honoured as the Awakening Father of Freedom by General Aung San and people alike in Burma. The Burma authorities are criticized for being practicing narrow-minded Burmese nationalism for the erasing of U Uttama historical existence on the ground of his Arakanese nationality, an Akyab resident revealed.

In gratitude to his seeding of the freedom movement from the British colonial rule, U Uttama Memorial Parks were established and opened in the nation capital Rangoon and in his native town Akyab in mid-1950s. Bikkhu U Uttama was a coadjutor of Mahatma Gandhi and is well respected by the Asian nations as a torchbearer of Asian freedom and unity. #

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