Burma Army commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing was awarded the Chin Hero Award by the Tedim-based Zomi Organization this week.
The honor, also known as the Gal Hang Pah Tawi Na Award, was given to the senior general on Tuesday in Bayinnaung Hall in Naypyidaw by a delegation from the organization. Included was the Roman Catholic Bishop Rev. Friar Joseph Thang Nen Zo Mung, according to the Zomi Organization’s general secretary Kap Khen Pau.
“In our country, he is the highest ranking person in defense,” Kap Khen Pau said of Min Aung Hlaing. “He deserves to get this hero award,” he told Khonumthung News.
The move has been criticized by members of Chin civil society. Zomi Student and Youth Organization in-charge Kim Tuang told Khonumthung News that the award should not have gone to the commander-in-chief.
“The Gal Hang Pah Tawi Na Award is for a special person who defeats an enemy in a just war,” Kim Tuang explained. “The person deserves to win this award after defeating an enemy in face-to-face fighting. Currently, all people [in Burma]have suffered from many troubles. The international community wants to punish this person, who is responsible for human rights abuses in the country,” he said, adding, “This absolutely should not have happened.”
The Chin Hero Award is the highest such award that can be delegated by Chin people in Tedim and Tonzang townships in northern Chin State.