Organizers completed an ethnic Matu forum in Chin State’s Matupi Township despite a verbal order from state authorities to close the event.
The forum was held from October 23-25. However, on the first day of the event, the Matupi Township administrator summoned the organizers and asked them to end the forum.
Chin Youth Organization’s Matupi chairman Annobik said that it since it was “not an official order with a document,” they decided to continue for the full three days.
The Matu forum was held with the Chin League for Democracy, which will run in the Matupi Township by-elections this year. Local sources said that the National League for Democracy central executive committee members in the township had complained about the event and reported it to the township administration office, leading to the Chin State officials handing down the order to forum organizers to halt the proceedings.
Khonumthung News tried to contact Chin State municipal minister U Soe Htet for comment on the issue but could not reach him at the time of reporting.
“The Matu forum is for unity among the Matu ethnic people. There is no political agenda. We got permission from the state government for this forum,” Annobik said. The event was intended to promote the role of civil society, women and youth in the development of Matupi Township.
This week’s event was the second Matu forum—the first was held in Matupi town in 2014.