An abbot from Ma Kyi Myint Monastery in Sittwe refused to provide the premises on Sunday to the junta-backed Union Solidarity....
An abbot from Ma Kyi Myint Monastery in Sittwe refused to provide the premises on Sunday to the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party to hold a political rally, said a monk in Sittwe.
The monk said the decision was made by Abbot U Nyana Wantha, who is about 70 years old and has no political affiliation.
On Sunday evening, four candidates from the USDP - Dr. San Shwe, Dr. Chan Tha, U Kyaw Zan Hla, and Kung San Shwe - came to the monastery to hold an election campaign rally. The abbot refused to allow his monastery to be used for the rally.
Speaking to Narinjara over telephone, another senior monk said, "Many abbots in Sittwe are unable to tolerate the Election Commission’s ways, which has given permission to the USDP to hold rallies in religious buildings against the electoral law. The EC has not allowed other political parties to use religious buildings for rallies. This is the reason the abbot refused the USDP using his monastery for the rally."
Because of the abbot’s refusal, the USDP postponed its election campaign plans for that day in Ma Kyi Myint Ward in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State.
According to sources, this is not the first time the USDP has been denied access for a rally, with other monasteries also refusing to allow their premises to be used for political purposes.
"Some monasteries in Sittwe, like La Run Win and Sin Htein, refused to provide their premises for USDP election rallies recently," the senior monk added.
Despite the refusal of some monasteries to allow the USDP to hold rallies, the authorities cannot take action against the abbots because they made their refusals in accordance with current election laws, which state that political parties cannot be allowed to use any religious buildings for election campaign rallies or canvassing for votes.
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