Shwepawkyun abbot prosecuted in assault case

by Ko Wine, Mizzima, Jan 26, 2009

Chiang Mai, Thailand -- Abbot U Kumara of the famous 'Shwepawkyun' Buddhist missionary is facing trial in Meiktila court for beating a woman.

U Kumara is accused of beating a woman called Ma Nwe Nwe Win who was a volunteer worker in the mission with his men. He gave testimony on January 21 at the Meiktila Township court, former Chairman of mission trustee U Tha Din told Mizzima.

"Meiktila Township court examined him on January 21. The judge was U Khin Maung Maung. U Kumara avoided appearing before the court 18 times on previous trial dates. It's been on for over three years. The first case was filed in the Hnaw Kan police station," U Tha Din said.

Mandalay Division Sangha authority appointed U Kumara as abbot in the Buddhist Missionary which is situated in Yengan village track, Mahlaing Township, after the former Sayadaw (abbot) U Zeya Theindi Dhama Nyarnika expired.

In the mission compound, there are over 300 monasteries, 30 vehicles for the mission's use. It serves meals daily to over 1,000 guests and volunteer workers.

Repeated attempts to contact both abbot U Kumara and the police station to verify the case, failed.

Similarly there were homicide cases and theft of ancient Buddha statues in the past in this mission. But all the culprits are still at large, U Tayzanika a.k.a. U Tint Swe, prosecutor in theft case, said.

"I filed a burglary case in court. My monastery is inside the Shewpawkyun compound and is called the Zigone monastery. When I was away from my monastery, it was burgled and there was forced entry by damaging the fence and doors. My golden hand chain, necklace, Nawarat (9 gemstones) ring and digital camera were stolen. I bought them when I was layman before being ordained as monk," the monk said.

A suicide occurred in the mission compound in late 2007. The deceased was U Kyaw Myint who was a volunteer worker in the mission.

He died soon after admitting his involvement in the theft of ancient Buddha statues, local residents said.

An eyewitness of the crime scene said that there were no signs that the man had hung himself such as wide eyes with the tongue outside the mouth. The legs touched the ground and the knees were bent. The rope was stained with engine oil, though the hands were not stained with oil, he said.