Chin Human Rights Organization
Aizawl: 13 January 2005
A Christian cross in Chin State’s Matupi town was vandalized and destroyed by Burmese troops on direct order of Colonel San Aung, Cheif of Tactical Command No. 2 for Chin State, a local man has just informed Chin Human Rights Organization. The order was carried out under the supervision of Lt. Colonel Aung Kyaw, commander of Infantry Battalion (204) stationed in the area. Sometime in learly December, during the night, a group of Burmese soldiers ripped apart white ceremic tiles and slab of marbles covering the 50-foot tall contrete structure cross, and then blackpainted it with oil residue. A report coming from inside Chin State says that the cross was completely torn down on January 3, 2005, on the eve of Burma’s independence celebration.
The cross had been standing on top of Mount Boi, south of Matupi Town for the last two decades. In 2000, local Christians from various denominations with monetary contributions by Matupi residents working in Thailand, replaced a wooden cross with 50-foot and 15×5 cubic feet concrete structure at the cost of 3.5 million Kyats. The reconstruction was completed in 2003.
“It is both heart wrenching and humiliating,” complained the local resident who says that the cross was the site for prayer and religious gathering for local Christians. The site of the cross is now sealed off and designated as part of an army base for Light Infantry Battalion 204. Christians are now prohibited from going up the mountain. It is also being reported that the military regime is planning on erecting a Buddhist pagoda on the very same spot.
In April of 2004, Burma’s ruling military junta State Peace and Development Council ordered the destruction of another cross in the same area. A wooden cross erected on Mount Lung Tak, located 5 miles from Matupi Town was demolished by Burmese troops from the same battalion. The cross that was destroyed last week is considered to be one of the last remaining crosses in major townships in Chin State. Chin people are overwhelmingly Christians and local people plant crosses on tops of hills and mountains besides their village and towns as symbols of their faith or in remembrance of early Christian missionaries and pioneers or for other historical and religious significance of the sites.