Myanmar's highest Buddhist authority bars radical nationalist group | Reuters

By Wa Lone | YANGON YANGON Myanmar's top Buddhist authority banned a hardline monks' group on Tuesday, raising pressure on extremists after they barred a firebrand monk from public sermons and authorities arrested several Buddhist nationalists.The radical group known by its Burmese initials Ma Ba Tha was declared illegal and 'no person or organisation' is allowed to use its name, according to a statement issued by the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the country's highest Buddhist authority. All signs with the group's name must be removed by July 15, the statement said, and anyone who does not comply with this ban will be charged under the law.Tensions between majority Buddhists and Myanmar's Muslim minority have simmered in Myanmar since scores were killed and tens of thousands displaced in intercommunal clashes at the onset of the country's democratic transition in 2012 and 2013.Mutual distrust has deepened since October, when attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents in northwestern Rakhine state provoked a massive military counter-offensive, causing around 75,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh. Ma Ba Tha, or the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, had wielded significant political clout in recent years, successfully campaigning for the passing of laws seen by rights groups as discriminating against Muslims.One of its leaders is Wirathu, a radical monk who once called himself 'Myanmar's Bin Laden' and denounced the United Nations' human rights investigator Yanghee Lee as a 'whore'

Reuters May 23, 2017 22:17:20 IST
Myanmar's highest Buddhist authority bars radical nationalist group
| Reuters

Myanmars highest Buddhist authority bars radical nationalist group
 Reuters

By Wa Lone
| YANGON

YANGON Myanmar's top Buddhist authority banned a hardline monks' group on Tuesday, raising pressure on extremists after they barred a firebrand monk from public sermons and authorities arrested several Buddhist nationalists.The radical group known by its Burmese initials Ma Ba Tha was declared illegal and "no person or organisation" is allowed to use its name, according to a statement issued by the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the country's highest Buddhist authority. All signs with the group's name must be removed by July 15, the statement said, and anyone who does not comply with this ban will be charged under the law.Tensions between majority Buddhists and Myanmar's Muslim minority have simmered in Myanmar since scores were killed and tens of thousands displaced in intercommunal clashes at the onset of the country's democratic transition in 2012 and 2013.Mutual distrust has deepened since October, when attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents in northwestern Rakhine state provoked a massive military counter-offensive, causing around 75,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh.

Ma Ba Tha, or the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, had wielded significant political clout in recent years, successfully campaigning for the passing of laws seen by rights groups as discriminating against Muslims.One of its leaders is Wirathu, a radical monk who once called himself "Myanmar's Bin Laden" and denounced the United Nations' human rights investigator Yanghee Lee as a "whore". He was recently barred from preaching.

Religious tensions in Myanmar have been high. Police last week arrested several hardliners following their clashes with Muslims in the country's largest city, Yangon.Ma Ba Tha's chairman Tilawka Bhivamsa confirmed he had signed the statement but refused to comment further. The group had planned a nationwide conference in Yangon this weekend, expecting about 10,000 monks to attend.

In the runup to the 2015 election that ushered in the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Ma Ba Tha organised a massive rally attended by thousands in Yangon.Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party did not field Muslim candidates in that election out of fear of coming under attack by radical Buddhists.Tun Nyunt, a director at the Religious Affairs Ministry told Reuters the government received the statement and was distributing it to local chapters of the Sangha and regional officials from his ministry. (Reporting by Wa Lone; Editing by Antoni Slodkowski and Tom Heneghan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Moderna raises 2021 vaccine output forecast to at least 600 million doses
World

Moderna raises 2021 vaccine output forecast to at least 600 million doses

(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast, as the United States continues to roll-out the vaccine. The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year, the higher end of its production forecast, it said

On thin ice? Poles get creative to skate round coronavirus rules
World

On thin ice? Poles get creative to skate round coronavirus rules

WARSAW (Reuters) - A skating rink owner in the Polish city of Szczecin believes he has found a way to keep his business open despite coronavirus restrictions - operate as a flower shop instead. His plan is simple - the customer has to purchase access to the flower "warehouse", then chooses from a box of flowers in the middle of the rink. "You can jump, crawl or go on all fours ..

Yemeni boy, ravaged by hunger, weighs 7 kg
World

Yemeni boy, ravaged by hunger, weighs 7 kg

By Reuters Staff SANAA (Reuters) - Paralysed and severely malnourished, seven-year-old Faid Samim lies curled up on a hospital bed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, having barely survived the journey there.  "He was almost gone when he arrived but thank God we were able to do what was necessary and he started improving. He is suffering from CP (cerebral palsy) and severe malnutrition," said Rageh Mohammed, the supervising doctor of the Al-Sabeen hospital's malnutrition ward.