By Maung Aye
Sittwe: Monks living across western Burma’s Arakan State have started a petition to appeal to the Burmese military junta for the release of U Pyinya Sara, who has been unfairly de-robed and put on trial, said a leading activist monk from the campaign.
“The campaign is being launched by some young monks studying in the monasteries to secure the release of U Pyinya Sara, as he is not guilty of the charges filed by the local authorities, and his trial should held in accordance with the law,” said the monk.
He said that the campaign is now being carried out in Mrauk U, Kyauk Taw, Sittwe, Rambree, Man Aung, Ponna Kyunt, and Minbya Townships in Arakan State.
“We are now collecting signatures from the monks in each township. Even the abbots are supporting our campaign. So far we have received 200 signatures and after completing the campaign all across Arakan we will submit the petition to the junta’s higher authorities,” said the monk, adding that the campaign was started after local congregants from Sittwe requested the monks do something for the freedom of U Pyinya Sara.
“Mainly the lay devotees have urged us to do a campaign whenever we go for alms. Two youths who donated drinking water to the demonstrating monks in the Saffron Revolution protests were released after we had launched a similar campaign for them. So we believe that the authorities will consider releasing U Pyinya Sara after this campaign as well,” he said.
According to the source, the signed petition will be submitted to the Western Command Commander, the chief military authority in Arakan State. He reported they are working for U Pyinya Sara’s release because he is a selfless monk who is working not only for the propagation of Buddhism but also to aid local orphaned children.
15 head monks from Sittwe, Minbya, and Ponna Kyunt have already submitted a signed letter to Brigadier General Soe Thein on 17 September requesting a fair trial for the arrested monk, but there was no improvement after their appeal. The source said they will keep on with their movement until U Pyinya Sara is released in the event authorities are hesitant to release him after the petition campaign.
U Pyinya Sara’s case has been heard almost daily in the court. Last Sunday the judge revoked the defense lawyers right to represent the monk after they complained about his unruly manner.