Buddhist monk organization warns public to keep out of sectarian violence

Following the murderous violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Meikhtila Town last week, a prominent Buddhist monk organization has forbid its congregation to be involved in sectarian violence.

The Saffron Monk Network issued a statement last week warning the public not to take part in any violent events following the riots between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Meikhtila town last week.

Ashin Awbartha (Nagar) from Shwewayoung Pyinyardana monastery, a member of the Saffron Monk Network told Karen News that the his organizations warning statement is intended to keep innocent people out of riots like those that happened in Meikhtila.

“It is to warn the public not to join the conflict. Now is the time of high school examination and it will soon be the monk examination. We don’t want any of them out in the street – we have issued our statement to forbid their involvement in violence.”

The Saffron Monk Network’s statement asks the public to be critical and thoughtful on recent conflicts and cites by-elections, fighting in Kachin State, communal violence in Rakhine State, the Letpandaung copper mine clash and riots over land confiscation.

The Saffron Monk Network statement points out that these acts are not random, but have the markings of planned events that could benefit the interests of a group or individuals who want to exploit the country’s current political and economic situation.

The Saffron Monk Network’s statement said that it is sad to see religion and ethnic based issues used to stimulate and create conflicts. The statement also warned that the violence could set back the country and lead to loss of support from the international community.

A government official media statement released on March 22, estimated that 11 people were killed and 39 people injured in the Meikhtila Town sectarian violence. The conflict destroyed 152 houses, 2 motorbikes, 1 education office, 2 motor vehicles, 2 three wheels motorbikes, and 13 religious buildings.

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