Timeline of Christian Cross Destruction in Kyindwe, Kanpetlet Township
26 July 2012: Chin Christians, like other ethnic nationalities in Burma, have been targeted by a succession of military regimes because of their ethnicity and religion for decades. The following is a record of dates and events related to demolition of Christian crosses in Kanpetlet in the southern parts of Chin State.
16 June 2011: Two Christian crosses were erected on both ends of the newly completed suspension bridge on Mung (Hmolong) River in Kyindwe village, Kanpetlet Township, Chin State.
24 July 2011: General Administrative Officer of Kyindwe Village Tract wrote an official letter to U Thang Khanh Htun, leader of Bridge Construction Committee; two pastors from Kyindwe village Chan Hmung and Mnai Saw to demolish the crosses by 10am 25 July, noting that the Chin State government had also already informed them through the telegraph message.
24 July 2011: Head of Kyindwe Police Station, U Win Tin, wrote the same letter as General Administrative Officer of Kyindwe Village Tract to U Thang Khanh Htun, Chan Hmung and Mnai Saw.
28 July 2011: 15 local Chin Buddhist youths were ordered to destroy the crosses on 28 July 2011. Six members of authorities who gave the instruction for the demolition were a Buddhist monk from Kyindwe village; U Win Tin, Police Officer in charge of Kyindwe Police Force; two village headmen U Mya Pyu and U Aung Kyaw; U Chit Sein aka Thang Bu, a school teacher graduated from the University of the Development of National Races; and a local villager, Mg Mg aka Kyin Htwe.
8 November 2011: The Chin National Party initiated a petition complaining the destruction of the crosses, which was signed by a total of 9 MPs at the State level and submitted it to the President.
9 November 2011: Christians in Kanpetlet and Mindat townships sent a separate letter of complaint and a signature petition signed by more than 1,000 Chin Christians to President Thein Sein, demanding action to be taken in accordance with the law.
20 April 2012: Dr. Ba Maung, Minister of Social Affairs from Chin State government, had a discussion with Pu Ling Tun on behalf of Christians regarding a plan to hold a peaceful demonstration by the Christian public on 22 and 23 May 2012. Dr. Ba Maung offered him an informal apology during their private meeting.
21 April 2012: Christian groups held an emergency meeting in Shinpaung (Hmukhimding) village under the leadership of U Ling Htun and Salai Myo Chit, Secretary-II of the Chin National Party (CNP).
25 April 2012: A document containing three points agreed at the emergency meeting was faxed to Dr. Ba Maung:
- Permission to re-erect two Christian crosses of the same size and design as the previous ones
- Permission to construct church buildings in Kyindwe village and other places for Christian believers and
- Equal supports from the Ministry of Religious Affairs for all religions in Chin State.
15 May 2012: A reconciliation meeting between Christians and Buddhists was held at State High School Hall in Kyindwe village at 4pm. The meeting was attended by Dr. Ba Maung together with some Buddhist members and about 100 Christians from different denominations, with 10 elders representing Kyindwe village.
Dr. Ba Maung made a verbal apology to the Christians, saying he was genuinely sorry for what had happened but refused to accept the three-point proposals made by the Christians, saying he was not authorized to grant such permission.
Nephew of Dr. Ba Maung, U Nyan Maung, an influential person in Kyindwe village who is thought to have masterminded the destruction of Christian crosses, also offered an apology to Christians by saying such words as ‘sorry’ and ‘forgiveness’ from the podium.
22-23 May 2012: A plan to stage a 2-day peaceful demonstration in Kanpetlet town by Chin Christians was called off after the reconciliation meeting.
Note: As of today, the government of Chin State has not taken any action against the demolition of Christian crosses in Kyindwe village, apart from signing a letter of complaint allegedly sent to President Thein Sein. No official response has been received from the office of President Thein Sein. The three-point proposal submitted to Dr. Ba Maung at the reconciliation meeting by the Chin Christians remains unanswered. The so-called ‘reconciliation meeting’ was titled and organized by Dr. Ba Maung on his own initiative, not as a representative of the government of Chin State, ahead of the planned demonstration.