|Ethnic Kachin symbols in Bhamo in Kachin State, northern Burma were ordered to be suddenly removed yesterday morning just before the arrival of the junta’s Northern Regional commander to the city, said local sources.
The highly-revered Kachin cultural Manau poles in the venue of the Bhamo Kachin Literature and Culture in Aung Ta village, two miles northeast downtown were removed by the cultural leaders at about 8 a.m. local time, said officials in the venue.
Twelve days after celebrating the “2nd Thanksgiving and Sut Manau Festival for Kachins in Bhamo District” in the cultural venue and 28 days after setting up the Manau poles, the cultural symbol was abruptly removed on the orders of the military authorities of Bhamo.
Kachin cultural symbol in Bhamo, Kachin State in northern Burma before it was removed on Dec. 10, 2009 by the order of Burma’s ruling junta.
The wooden Manau poles in the centre of the Manau dance ground were removed with care by the local cultural leaders after a special Christian traditional prayer service for the removal. The prayer was jointly conducted by the city Baptist and Roman Catholic Church leaders, said participants.
The Manau symbol was situated beside the Myitkyina-Bhamo Road and the Northern Commander Maj-Gen Soe Win travelled to Bhamo yesterday in a convoy of cars from Kachin’s capital Myitkyina along the road, said local residents.
Sudden instructions were given to the city Kachin cultural leaders by the authorities of Bhamo District and Bhamo City Administrations (Kha-Ya-Ka and Ma-Ya-Ka in Burmese) a day before commander Soe Win came to Bhamo, according to sources.
The two administrators, Col. Khin Maung Myint of the Bhamo district and U Khin Maung Aye of Bhamo city instructed the speedy removal of Manau poles because it would be seen by the Kachin State’s chief Maj-Gen Soe Win, said the sources.
On November 12, a government bulldozer suddenly made an appearance in the Manau venue and demolished the circular Manau dance ground after it was covered with thin concrete floors on the orders of the district administrator Col. Khin Maung Myint.
After the demolition, the festival was authorized to be celebrated only for two days – November 27 and 28 when the original schedule was for three days — from November 26 to 28, said cultural committee members.
The Manau festival committee’s members were made to pledge and sign by the authorities that the Manau poles would be removed as soon as the festival was concluded, said members.