Injured Monks Prepare to Leave Hospital

By Zarni Mann 4 December 2012

Thirty-two Buddhist monks and three other activists suffering burns from last week’s brutal crackdown on an anti-copper mine protest in Sagaing Division are due to be discharged from Mandalay General Hospital on Tuesday evening.

“Doctors assured us that the injuries of those who will be discharged will get better,” said a monk who is helping victims. “We understand that the hospital is crowded so those who are not in a serious condition will be discharged and treated as outpatients back in Monywa.”

Although they are about to leave the hospital, some patients said they felt like they only received minimal treatment at the hospital. “Some of us may have recovered like [the doctors] said, but most of us still need medical care,” said a patient. “They just looked at our injuries and left without giving proper treatment.”

Despite the discharges, some monks who were admitted in a serious condition are not yet out of danger while others are still suffering trauma from the incident.

“The monk who had the whole right side of his face burned is now suffering mentally. He barely speaks and just holds a pen and makes ticks on paper. He has now been submitted to the jawbone specialist department to cure his injuries,” said one of the injured monks. “I think it is due to the pain he experienced during the incident.”

A total of 96 injured Buddhist monks were moved to Mandalay General Hospital from Monywa last week to receive extra care following the raid. Eight monks with severe burns have been located separately from the rest.

The brutal crackdown on six protest camps in front of the headquarters of China’s Wan Bao Company by the Letpadaung mountain range at around 2:30 am on Thursday morning has caused a nationwide outcry in recent days.

The project is being run as a joint venture between Wan Bao and the Burmese military’s Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. Local people have demanded a complete shutdown of the mine citing alleged illegal land confiscations and environmental damage to the area.