The Chin state Chief Minister and state Religious Administrator met Salai M Cung, coordinator and Salai Van Bawi Lian, member of the Chin Advocacy Group (CAG) on the contentious issue of religious discrimination in Chin state on June 26.
Earlier at a meeting, CAG members had submitted signatures of 1524 people opposing the construction of a pagoda in Hakha town area following a decision in the state parliament, condemned the destruction of a Christian cross near Hakha town and raised other issues of religious discrimination by the state government. The complaint letter with signatures was submitted to the President Thein Sein, Union Parliament Chairman, Thura Shwe Man and Chin state Chief Minister U Hung Ngai on 28 May 2012.
Salai M Cung, CAG coordinator answered all the questions raised by the Chief Minister relating to the CAG’s complaint letter. The Chief Minister told the CAG members that the issue of constructing a pagoda near Hakha town had not been decided by the state government but by some Buddhist members in parliament.
The Religious Administrator also answered questions relating to restrictions on constructing Christian churches. He said that he has been working for only two months in Chin state, and there were very few applications for constructing Christian churches. But if an application is submitted as per regulation, it will be granted.
He also said the budgetary allocation for Christian and non-Christian religious structures was very little and that Christians were more in terms of population than others though the budget is meant for the two groups. The budgetary funds have to be provided through the Myanmar Baptist Church (MBC).
The CAG members pointed out that the MBC can only represent its own churches and not all Christian churches in Chin state, the details of which are known by Christian Church leaders.
CAG members agreed to report to the concerned authorities the issue of teaching Buddhist doctrine as a subject in the school curriculum. So other religious doctrines should also be allowed.
Salai M Cung also encouraged all Christian church leaders to study all religious matters more than before just not for one church but for all, for a better relationship and to develop respect for each other. Khonumthung news