Burma Times Correspondent: January 20, 2015
The government has been embarrassed by U Wirathu’s tirade against Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Envoy for Human Rights in Burma. The government will consider communicating to Wirathu their displeasure through the Religious Affairs Ministry which will also decide if other punitive measures shall be taken against the controversial monk.
Wirathu, the spiritual leader of the nationalist movement Buddhist 969 movement in a speech on Friday referred to the UN envoy as a prostitute and accused her of being from a disrespectable background as she was supporting Rohingya Muslims. The speech included some other insulting remarks.
Analysts say that a time when the government is reeling from international criticism for not prosecuting Buddhist monks who killed Muslims, Wirathu’s outburst is another added burden. The government has been accused of working closely with Wirathu and the 969 movement to carry out purges against Muslims.
Wirathu and his version of Buddhist nationalism is increasingly popular in Burma and it still remains to be seen how far the government will go in taking action against the Buddhist monk.
Thein Sein’s reformist government is however also keen to improve relations with the international community which will naturally be disappointed if the government fails to take any action against Wirathu.
Analysts also say that if Wirathu is treated with impunity, this will give the Buddhist nationalists added impetus to move more aggressively against the UN which they believe is biased in favour of the Muslim community.