A programme in support of HIV/AIDS awareness slated to be performed by the famous and outspoken comedian Zarganar and fellow artists was ordered by the military junta to be postponed.

Zarganar, Khant Sithu, Thet Mon Myint, Nghat Pyaw Kyaw, Nyaung Nyaung, Kyethi, Panthi, Didi, Moe Kyi Kyi Maung, Nay Toe and some gays were supposed to perform on World AIDS Day on December 1 at the compound of TOP’s clinic for people living with HIV. However, the health ministry sent a letter to the organizers and NGOs on November 30 asking them postpone the performance.

“We have been performing for four years. There has been no problem in earlier years. We were not ordered directly but the directives came to the NGOs,” Zarganar told Mizzima following the cancellation of the performance.

It was learnt that the health ministry ordered the Holland based AZG (AZG-Artsen Zonder Grenzen) to postpone the performance. No reasons have been given so far.

“When I asked Daw Nu Nu Aye (from AZG), she said that there were many programmes on that day as 88 generation students Ko Jimmy, Ko Mya Aye were distributing leaflets on HIV/AIDS awareness. The state-organised function (for World AIDS Day) was held on December 2 so that there was no mix up with the activities of students,” said Zarganar alias Thura.

“Personally I think the authorities feel uneasy about AZG because it has been providing medical treatment along with NLD members,” Zarganar said.

The military regime banned Zarganar, a former political prisoner from performing in the country from May because of an interview he gave to the BBC Burmese service on Burmese government regulations regarding the annual water festival and his making a TV commercial that suggested Taiwan is an independent country. The military junta felt such a view could harm its relations with China.

Popular in Burma for his sense of humour he denied that the TV commercial was made by him.