Report: Elderly Buddhist monk killed by Myanmar military

- through Henry Oudin

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The body of Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa was returned to his Bago monastery before his funeral. At

A high-ranking Buddhist monk, Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa, abbot of Win Neinmitayon Monastery in Myanmar's Bago region, was reportedly shot dead on June 19 by members of the Myanmar military as he was being driven from an airport in the central Mandalay region.

In a video shared on social media a day after the shooting, another monk, Sayadaw Bhaddanta Gunikabhivamsa, who was also in the car at the time of the attack, said junta soldiers fired seven or eight bullets on the car, killing the abbot. and injuring himself and the driver of the vehicle.

Myanmar's military declared a state of emergency on February 1, 2021, after detaining President Win Myint, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the ruling National League for Peace party. democracy (NLD). The coup took place just hours before the country's new parliament was due to convene, following the November 2020 general election, in which the NLD made substantial electoral gains.

Since the coup, the military-led State Council has sought to consolidate its grip on power by violently suppressing public dissent and organized street protests in defiance of the crackdown. by the army. Even the country's revered Buddhist monastic sangha finds itself in the military's crosshairs.*

Monks pay homage to Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa as he lies in state. At

"I got out of the car and said, 'Why are you so cruel to the monks?' ", said Sayadaw Bhaddanta Gunikabhivamsa after the incident. “They (the junta soldiers) replied that they did not know that monks were inside the car. They admitted to mistakenly shooting at the vehicle thinking it was the enemy's because the car's windows were closed. Then they asked us to give them our phones and told us not to call anyone. » (The Irrawaddy)

Junta-controlled media attributed the death of Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa, a retired member of the State Sangha Nayaka Committee, which oversees the country's Buddhist clergy, to rebel fighters, according to independent media reports. The MRTV television channel reported that the abbot's car was caught in an exchange of fire between junta troops and guerrillas of the rebel People's Defense Forces, a popular militia formed by citizens opposed to the regime. military.

Independent news site The Irrawaddy reported that Sayadaw Bhaddanta Gunikabhivamsa's account of the shooting appeared to corroborate a report on the incident submitted by the head of the Mandalay region's religious affairs department, which claimed that soldiers carrying out a security patrol had killed the abbot during the opening. shot at his vehicle after it failed to stop as requested.

In a June 21 statement, a day after junta-controlled media denied responsibility for the shooting, Myanmar's military junta said it would investigate the monk's death. The RFA news site reported that on the same day, the junta's chief minister for the Bago region visited Win Neinmitayon Monastery and admitted to monks that the military had published incorrect information.

At the time of his death, Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa was 77 years old. He had been a Buddhist monk for 57 years and held several advanced degrees in Buddhist studies.

Despite more than three years of violent repression by government forces, the junta continues to face broad public opposition. The repression of peaceful protest movements has led a growing number of communities to turn to armed resistance, often with the support of existing ethnic militias.

In response to the crisis in Myanmar, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists partnered with the Berkley, California-based Clear View Project to launch an international appeal for emergency humanitarian assistance for Buddhist monks and nuns living in the shadow of the junta. **

“The International Network of Engaged Buddhists and the US-based Clear View Project are coordinating an urgent appeal to raise funds to support the humanitarian emergency in Myanmar that focuses on Buddhist monks and nuns,” said the INEB in a message shared with BDG. “(In February 2021), the Myanmar military staged what it deemed a “quick coup” in which democratically elected members of the government, including President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were arrested. Since then, the country has been gripped by unrest and people have responded by launching a civil disobedience movement in towns and villages across Myanmar.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a human rights organization based in Myanmar and Thailand, reported that as of June 21, a total of 5 people involved in pro-democracy movements had been killed by the military junta. The AAPP noted that this figure only represented deaths it could independently verify and that the true number was likely much higher. In total, 302 people were reportedly arrested by the junta, including 26 sentenced to death after the coup. A total of 900 people were sentenced to death, some in absentia, AAPP said.

About 90,1 percent of Myanmar's population identifies as Buddhist, according to 2016 census data. Christians make up 6,2 percent, Muslims 2,4 percent and Hindus 0,5 percent, with tribal and other religions accounting for 0,5 percent. Groups representing all religious communities, including monks and clergy, took to the streets and demonstrated against the military takeover.

* Buddhist monks targeted in ongoing crackdown by Myanmar military junta (BDG), Myanmar junta abandons plan to place Buddhist monks at military roadblocks (BDG)

** INEB and Clear View Project launch humanitarian appeal for Buddhist monks in Myanmar (BDG)

See more

Elderly Buddhist monk shot dead in Myanmar (UCA News)
Myanmar junta investigates fatal shooting of veteran monk (The Irrawaddy)
Failure to cover up its troops' role in Monk's assassination shows extent of Myanmar junta's dishonesty (Irrawaddy)
Myanmar junta's attempt to cover up killing of elderly monk by troops exposed (Irrawaddy)
Burmese monk shot dead by junta soldiers, colleague says (RFA)
In rare setback, junta says it will investigate senior monk's shooting death (RFA)
In rare setback, junta says it will investigate shooting death of senior monk (Mizzima)
Daily briefing on the military coup (Assistance Association for Political Prisoners)

Statement calling for solidarity and preservation of the sanctity of life in Myanmar (International Network of Committed Buddhists)
URGENT CALL for humanitarian aid to support Buddhist monks and nuns in Myanmar's political movement against military dictatorship (International Network of Committed Buddhists)

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The article Report: Senior Buddhist monk killed by Myanmar army appeared first on Buddhadoor Global.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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