Church Construction Materials Storage Destroyed
14 November, 2009: A shack intended to store remains of church building foundation destroyed last year by military-backed thugs, and construction materials donated by Chin Christian students has been torn down during holidays in Tharyarwaddy village, Kalay Township early this month.
The tarpaulin-roofed shack, which was built on 6 June, 2009, had its two pillars cut down, roof torn apart and other parts completely shattered, according to a student eyewitness who visited the place last Tuesday.
The student was quoted as saying that some villagers who got involved in the destruction did not say anything when they were asked questions regarding the incident.
With a small contribution collected out of their pocket money by Chin Christian students for a few years, a plot of land was bought and the building foundation laid in 2005. In November 2008, some pillars and parts of building framework were erected by the students themselves voluntarily.
Late last year, Chairman of Kalay TPDC (Township Peace and Development Council), U Ko Ko Lat, ordered the construction to be stopped, and the construction materials were confiscated and kept in the compound of the village headman after the church construction was completely destroyed by military-backed thugs.
It has been claimed that after the order was issued, the construction was not destroyed immediately in attempts to avoid the possible clashes between the students and Junta-backed USDA and ‘Shuan-aa-shin’ members, who are responsible for the destruction.
One of the student leaders said the loss at this time was not worth mentioning compared to the previous one which was estimated to be over 2million Kyats.
The building plot and all construction materials owned by Technology Christian Fellowship based in Tharyarwaddy village, Sagaing Division were intended to use for building a chapel and a student hostel for those who are from remote places having difficulties in renting accommodation.
Till today, there has been no reply from Regional and District Office to an official letter of complaint written and submitted by the Student Union in 2008. Meanwhile, it is claimed that Rector of Kalay Tehnological University has also given pressure on the students not to continue the construction.
For decades, Chin Christians have faced systematic practices of religious discrimination and persecution including denial of permission to construct church buildings and to print Bibles in the country, destruction of Christian crosses planted on top of mountains, closures of Bible colleges, orphanages and churches, and various forms of restrictions and forced labour targeting Christian Chin and pastors.