Township Administrator Sues Nationalists over Ramadan Prayer Site Closures in Yangon

By Htun Htun 17 May 2019

YANGON—The General Administration Department (GAD) in Yangon’s South Dagon Township has filed lawsuits against two nationalists involved in forcing the shutdown of three temporary places of worship set up for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in South Dagon Township, regional lawmaker U Nyi Nyi, who represents the township, confirmed to The Irrawaddy.

According to officials of South Dagon Township’s GAD, local Muslim leaders signed agreements to use the buildings as places of worship during Ramadan.

The Yangon regional government gave Muslim community leaders permission to use a building owned by U Maung Maung in the township’s Quarter No. 26; another owned by Haj. U Tin Soe in Quarter No. 64; and another owned by U Myint Lwin in Quarter No. 106 as prayer halls during Ramadan from May 6 to June 7, according to U Yan Aung, a resident of Quarter No. 106.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a crowd of around 100 Buddhist monks and nationalists including U Michael Kyaw Myint forced the closure of the temporary prayer sites.

“According to the head of South Dagon Township Police Station, cases have been opened against Michael Kyaw Myint and another [person] under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code. The township administrator filed the complaints,” U Nyi Nyi told The Irrawaddy.

“I will face trial and I am preparing for it,” U Michael Kyaw Myint told The Irrawaddy.

All three temporary prayer halls have been re-opened and are being used for Ramadan. [Township] security personnel promised to provide security throughout the month, during which Muslims fast and concentrate on prayer.

Section 505(b) of the Penal Code states that “whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumor or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offense against the State or against the public tranquility; shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or [a] fine, or … both.”