Chairman of Myanmar’s Buddhist Authority Urges Negotiations to End Post-Coup Crisis

By The Irrawaddy 19 February 2021

YANGON—Bhamo Sayadaw Bhaddanta Kumara, chairman of the state Buddhist authority, known by its Burmese acronym Ma Ha Na, has called for negotiations to solve the mounting political crisis in Myanmar in the aftermath of the military coup.

Receiving the chairman and members of the Mandalay Region Administrative Council at the Buddhism University in Mandalay on Wednesday, the Ma Ha Na chairman called on the two sides “not to harbor grudges against each other and seek each other’s utter devastation, but to have love and sympathy and negotiate as soon as possible to solve the ongoing crisis, in consideration of the dignity of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s military] and the well-being of citizens, and for Myanmar to be able to stand tall on the global stage.”

The current situation calls for immediate negotiations between all authorities and responsible persons; otherwise Myanmar is on the verge of being wiped off the world map, Bhamo Sayadaw said.

The responsibility for any violence including arson, poisoning and use of chemicals will finally fall on the country’s leaders, said the monk, urging them to make sure such violence is not committed on the ground.

The following day, a group of men, including some wearing yellow robes, smashed car windows and attacked people with sticks and slingshots near Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Yangon. Authorities, however, did not take action against them.

On Jan. 29, two days before Myanmar’s military staged a coup claiming the November general election that brought a landslide victory to the National League for Democracy was marred by fraud, Ma Ha Na released a request, signed by 10 senior monks, urging both sides to settle the issue peacefully and in line with existing laws, rules and regulations.

Five days after Myanmar’s military staged a coup, the Mandalay Region Ma Ha Na sent a special request to the military regime’s State Administrative Council asking it to hold talks with the leaders of the ousted government. On Feb. 10, three senior Ma Ha Na monks again sent a special request to coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and ousted State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, calling for immediate talks to resolve the issue.

The military regime has however showed no sign of willingness to hold negotiations. Archbishop of Yangon Cardinal Charles Maung Bo and leaders of other faiths have asked the military to show understanding of the feelings and frustrations of the people who voted for democracy, and not to use violence against peaceful protesters.

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