Fri 29 Feb 2008
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Residents of a Kachin village face severe threats by village authorities if they are absent from the welcome ceremony of Brig-Gen Thein Zaw, Minister of Communication, Posts and Telegraphs of the Burmese regime on his referendum campaign today in Kachin State, Northern Burma, villagers said.
All villagers in Mayan village, about 25 miles south of Myitkyina Township the capital of Kachin State on the Myitkyina-Mandalay railway have received this threat from the pro-junta village administrative chairman (Ka-Ya-Ka), Lawhkum Zau Hkawng. Residents who are absent at the ceremony will be driven away from the village and be taken into custody, said villagers.
Again, families who have not painted their fences near the main road with white cement will be fined Kyat 50,000 (est. US $ 41) per family by the chairman Lawhkum Zau Hkawng, the villagers added.
Yesterday, villagers in each family were not only forced to decorate the village the whole day but were also ordered to rehearse the Kachin traditional dance called “Htawng Ka” for greeting the Minister Brig-Gen Thein Zaw, according to villagers.
The exact time of Brig-Gen Thein Zaw’s visit to Mayan is not known.Â However, the villagers have been forced to standby along the left and right flanks of the road in the village.Â They have also been ordered to assemble at the village Kachin Baptist Church where the ceremony will be held, said villagers.
Brig-Gen Thein Zaw gave two landline auto phones to Mayan village two years ago but one phone was originally received in a broken condition and another phone was seized in a short time by the junta’s telecommunication office in Mogaung, the villagers told KNG today.
This time, the Mayan villagers will request Brig-Gen Thein Zaw for about 30 auto phones in keeping with a suggestion from leaders of Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) in Mogaung, added villagers.
During Brig-Gen Thein Zaw’s visit to Mayan, he will organize the villagers to support the ensuing referendum on the junta’s draft constitution to be held in May, the villagers said.
Brig-Gen Thein Zaw’s trip to the people on the Myitkyina-Mandalay railway is a return trip to Naypyitaw the country’s new capital.Â He will stop at different places and deliver speeches on the referendum in Christian churches and Buddhist monasteries, sources close to Thein Zaw said.
As the telecommunication minister, he mainly offers unlimited GSM mobile telephones and landline telephones to churches, monasteries and members of USDA, added local sources.
Brig-Gen Thein Zaw’s referendum campaign trail is being mainly organized in Christian churches and Buddhist monasteries by local USDA leaders and military bases, said sources close to USDA.