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Van Ottama Day Commemorated

10 September 2012

Buddhist devotees in Arakan State held a commemorative event in the capital Sittwe on Sunday to mark Van U Ottama Day, marking the 73rd anniversary of the death of revered monk U Ottama, who led the non-violent revolutionary movement against British colonial rule. Van Ottama was the first political prisoner of his ilk, and is credited with championing the issue of non-violent resistance to the Burmese public. Rakhine Nationalities Development Party spokesman Khine Pyi Soe told The Irrawaddy that his party organized a ceremony, including the collection of donations for monks, and a march to the Van Ottama Park in Sittwe where followers laid wreaths and paid their respects. Similar events took place across Arakan State and Rangoon, in sharp contrast to years gone by when such ceremonies were banned.