Complained by Monk, Pastor Interrogated over Christian Mission Work
15 May 2011: Acting on complaints by a local Buddhist monk, a Chin Christian pastor working in Kyaw Town of Gangaw District was interrogated by officials from the religious affairs department and police from Mergui (Magway) Division earlier this year, a Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) source has said.
Pastor Ngun Cem, 48, along with Kyaw Khe, headmaster of the local school, were interrogated by U Hte Lwin of Mergui Division Religious Affairs Department and Police Major U Tin Aung soon after complaints were made against the two in February by a local Buddhist monk.
The two Chins were summoned and questioned if they preached the Christian gospel to students living in the free accommodation provided by them. About 22 students attending school in the Kyaw Town who come from outlying villages were staying at the quarters run by the pastor for free of charge.
Pastor Ngun Cem, from a baptist church in Tahan, was also reportedly alleged that he baptized new believers under the age of 18. Immediately after the interrogation, Headmaster Kyaw Khe was reportedly transferred to Madu village in Matupi Township, Chin State.
In early 2000s, the Chin pastor, who has been in Kyaw Town since 1996, received a verbal warning three times from the local ward headman U Taw Kyaw to stop construction of Christian buildings on a plot of land bought by the church in 1998.
The Christian pastor was quoted as saying: “I told the headman [U Taw Kyaw] that the construction would continue as there was no officially written document signed by the relevant authorities prohibiting the construction.”
A total of 22 children staying at the pastor’s free boarding house were said to have stopped coming to the classes after they were allegedly threatened by the the monk who said that anyone living in the pastor’s quarters would have their family shunned by the community.
There are about 700 households in Kyaw Town, about 37 miles away from Gangaw Town, Gangaw Township in Mergui Division.