Archeological dept prohibits stone production near ancient caves

Man Yu Kyaw (Shwe Wa Land/ Kyouk Taw), January 1:

p2The archeological department has recently prohibited the stone production activities near toan ancient cave in Kyouk Taw township of Arakan.

It was a follow up action by the concerned department as the Arakan political parties and local people demanded on December 15 to close the stone production centre which was run by the Burma Army’s 539 battalion.

As the oppositions emerged, the archeological department engaged its officers for a spot report and they arrived in the location on December 16. Finally the department issued a prohibition letter next day.

The conservation of ancient cultural association also echoed similar version that the historical caves were related to the past days of Arakan. The Arakanese historians including Maha Aung Myay also supported their point of views.

“We have found enough evidences that those were ancient caves and hence we decided to issue the prohibition letter. But even after the initiative, if the Army personnel continue running the stone production centre, we would go for legal actions against them,” said U Aung Kyaw San, the director in charge of Arakan archeological department in Mrouk Oo.

Talking to Narinjara News, Ko Kyaw Sein Than, who is in-charge of information department of Arakan’s new generation political force, admitted that the cave walls were already facing degradations. Ko Kyaw Sein Than recently visited the site and found that the walls got decayed due to use of machineries in digging works.

army-distroyHe also talked to some local people, who alleged that the Burma Army’s 539 battalion dig-up stones from the mountain two years back and later they sold those pieces for using in the Mrouk Oo- Sittwe highway.

The length of each cave is found to be 5 feet and those were used by Thitsa Pandawa, a famous monk, as his residence during the Laymro Dynasty. Besides it, Arakan has three more dynasties namely Dynyawaddy, Vasali and Mrouk Oo.

There are nine such caves in Arakan. This kind of activities in the holly sites of the State may be termed as a destructive attempt against the history and hence the Army’s activities were criticized by the civil society groups.

According to the conservation law related to the cultural heritage of Arakan, one may be imprisoned up to 7 years. The particular law under the article25 was approved by the Arakan State parliament on 13 August 2014.

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