Unauthorised religious building dismantled following neighbourhood clash-videos

A clash in a township in suburban Yangon led to the dismantling on Sunday of an unauthorised religious building that some local residents did not want near their homes, local residents and officials said.

The Yangon City Development Committee had approved a plan to repair a religious teaching school in Manpyay Ward (3) of Tharkayta Township, but builders attempted to turn the school into a prayer hall, officials said.

After a clash between residents who did not want a prayer hall in their neighbourhood and those that did want one, municipal authorities and local residents dismantled the structure.

Local residents accused the builders of attempting to use a permit to repair a school to build a mosque.

Ward headman Ko Than Oo said local residents had requested that the builders refrain from building a mosque on numerous occasions.  “We asked them not to build a mosque three or four times. In the middle of 2012, we requested this again,” he said.

A member of the YCDC stressed that the building was dismantled because it breached the permit granted for repairing the school.

“Our department gave them a permit to repair the religious teaching school without changing or adding to its original design. However, the builders breached the official permit and as a result we dismantled the structure,” the committee member said.

A concrete water basin and prayer hall had been added to the school without permission, officials said.

Local residents said that the minor clash was not sectarian and that personal and group interests had fuelled it.

The dispute had more to do with lifestyles than religion, they said.

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