Church Ordered to Stop Construction, Worship Service and School by Authorities
21 January 2011: The local authorities ordered a Chin Baptist Church in a village of Gangaw Township to stop continuing its construction, holding worship services and running nursery school on 12 November 2010.
The Office of Gangaw Religious Affairs, accusing the church leaders of obtaining no permissions from relevant government departments, forced them to sign a document promising that the construction, worship services and nursery school would be ended immediately.
It was reported that the shocking move came just two days after Officer of Gangaw Township Religious Affairs, U Hla Tun and top officials from Forest and Telecommunication Departments visited the church and took some photos on 9 November 2010.
“Before the November 7 Election, the village headman U Tan Chaung and his assistant Aung Zaw Myint told the church pastor to vote for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). But the result showed that the National Unity Party (NUP) won and the local authorities were not happy,” one of the church committee members told Chinland Guardian.
U Tan Chaung reported to the Gangaw authorities about the election result of the village, according to the church committee member.
It was also reported that the Baptist Church had previously faced religious restrictions in the village including being ordered to put the church signboard down and to pull out the Christian tombstones in the cemetery.
There are 40 children from both Christian and Buddhist backgrounds in the nursery school run by the church whose building foundation was laid on 13 November 2008.
Only 23 out of 400 households are Christians in the village, with an estimated total population of 1,400. With the majority being Buddhist, the village has only 105 Christians although it was founded and first settled by the Zokhua people of Chin State.
Van Biak Thang