Narinjara News


Akyab, May 5



Khin Nyunt portrait pulled down from all Buddhist sites in Arakan


The ousted Burmese Prime Minister Khin Nyunt's portraits were pulled down by authorities from all the Buddhist temples and monasteries in Arakan, said a well-known Gopaka member, a pagoda trustee from Akyab.


"The local authority ordered us to pull down all the portraits of the former Prime Minister, Khin Nyunt, from Lokanada Pagoda and said to replace it with the newly appointed Prime Minister Soe Win's portraits", he said.


Locananda is 108 feet high and was built with forced labor under the supervision of Khin Nyunt, the then Prime Minister of the junta, in the Arakan State's capital, Akyab. After the crack down on the Democracy Movement in 1988, the junta came to be known as SLORC, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, which later renamed itself as the State Peace and Development Council in 1998.


This order was issued by the local authority after Senior General Than Shwe, the head of the state, visited the pagoda during the Arakanese New Years period.  Than Shwe also visited the Thyan Gran (water festival) with some of his cabinet members. The visit went from the 13th to 18th of April, 2005.


All temples and monasteries in Arakan are currently pulling down all portraits of the former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.


In Arakan there are a large number of Buddhist temples that hanged the former Prime Minister's portraits.  The portraits were drawn by excellent artists and these portraits are very expensive, said a Pagoda trustee from Buthi Daung, a northern townn of Arakan .


The trustee added that there has not been any instruction by the authority to the Pagoda trustees on what to do with the portraits of Khin Nyunt after removing them form the Buddhist temples.


Hence, many of the pagoda trustees in Arakan are now facing a dilemma. Will the portraits of former Prime Minister, Khin Nyunt be burned or kept in the store?



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