CNF Calls for Chin National Day to be State Holiday

By Yen Saning 20 February 2016

RANGOON — The Chin National Front (CNF), one of Burma’s ethnic armed groups, has called on the government to designate Chin National Day—Feb. 20—as an official holiday in Chin State.

“[We] seriously urge the current and incoming governments to once again make Chin National Day an official holiday in Chin State, as the Chin public wanted in accordance with the nationwide ceasefire agreement,” CNF said in a statement issued on Thursday.

CNF is among eight signatories of the Oct. 15 nationwide ceasefire agreement. This year will mark the 68th anniversary of Chin National Day.

The long-time ban on events to mark Chin National Day was lifted following the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement on Dec. 9, 2012, between CNF and government representatives.

The CNF’s call was preceded by a similar request from the Mon National Day Celebration Committee earlier this month. The committee sent a letter to President Thein Sein on Feb. 9, urging him to designate Mon National Day as an official holiday. The letter was copied to chairs of Mon National Day committees as well as to chief ministers in Karen and Mon states and Mandalay, Rangoon, Pegu and Tenasserim divisions.

Rangoon Division authorities on Feb. 3 initially denied permission to Chin and Karen groups in the former capital to use a church to mark their respective national days. Authorities later overturned their decision, however, and allowed the city’s ethnic Chin community to hold a national day celebration on Feb. 20 in Ahlone Township, according to a Feb. 15 statement.