210 members of the Sangha, six nuns and 42 laypersons arrive back in Myanmar from India
Nay Pyi Taw April 22
Two airplanes carrying 210 members of the Sangha, six nuns and 42 laypersons from Gaya of India to Myanmar arrived back at TadaU International Airport in Mandalay at 6 pm today. They were welcomed back at the airport by Administrator Sayadaw Bhaddanta Kovida of Sitagu Buddhist Academy, Chief Minister of Sagaing Region Dr. Myint Naing, Deputy Commander of Central Command Col Win Myat and officials.
The curfew order was issued in India on 22 March 2020, and a declaration was issued to lockdown the whole India from 24 March to 14 April. The lockdown period was extended from 15 April to 3 May. As such, Chancellor of Sitagu International Buddhist Academies and Sitagu Hospitals Joint Shwegyin Sangharaja Sitagu Sayadaw Dr. Bhaddanta Nyanissara requested Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to give a helping hand to student members of the Sangha who were learning at universities in India to be able to return to Myanmar. Hence, necessary arrangements and negotiation were made for the return of student monks, and instructions were given to the office of the Myanmar Military Attaché (Army, Navy and Air) to India on 2 April for carrying out the tasks in India.
In accord with the guidance of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Military Attaché Brig-Gen Thein Zaw contacted the Myanmar Ambassador to India and Chair of All Myanmar Student Monks Welfare Committee of India Sayadaw Bhaddanta Pannasami in Gaya. The Assistant Military Attaché and an other rank were assigned to seek travel permit during the lockdown period from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs-MEA via the Myanmar Embassy and accepted the permit on 6 April. A permit was sought from the Indian government on 18 April to convey members of the Sangha, nuns and laypersons with the use of two airplanes from Myanmar Airways International for the round the trip contributed by Kanbawza Co Ltd. Assistant Military Attaché Major Aung Myo Hein and an other rank were sent to Gaya from New Delhi by car on 15 April, one week ahead of 22 April when the airplanes would arrive in India. They arrived in Gaya on the morning of 16 April. The list on 26 March showed 178 members of the Sangha would like to return to Myanmar. After 14 April, Maha Bawdi Dhamma Yeiktha Monastery Sayadaw Dr. Bhaddanta Candamuni from Gaya sent further list of monks, nuns and laypersons wishing to return home to the Military Attaché who continuously submitted the list to the Myanmar Embassy.
Assistant Military Attaché Major Aung Myo Hein and an other rank who arrived in Gaya coordinated with Chair of All Myanmar Student Monks Welfare Committee of India Sayadaw Bhaddanta Pannasami and Sayadaw Bhaddanta Tejinda of Myanmar Monastery on accommodation for laypersons from New Delhi to Gaya at Win Win Myanmar Monastery, members of the Sangha from Sanskrit University and Sanpurnanand University of Baranasi at Mazzima Thukha Foundation Monastery, members of the Sangha from Subharti University of Meerut at Myanmar Students Monastery, and members of the Sangha from Nalanda University of Yazagyo at Myanmar Monastery.
As it was necessary to seek permit from the Ministry of External Affairs from India for timely arriving of members of the Sangha and laypersons at the gathering point in Gaya for returning to Myanmar, efforts were made daily for negotiation to send necessary facts to Myanmar Embassy in time, send the facts about vehicles and drivers for seeking internal travel permit, contact officials from Gaya for performing medical checkup on returnees, carry out purchase and distribution of surgical masks, transport the monks, nuns and laypersons from the gathering point to the accommodation sites and send them to Gaya Airport in a smooth process.
The members of the Sangha, nuns and laypersons who arrived back in Myanmar were transported by the deputy commander and officials with the use of five express buses to Sagaing from TadaU International Airport. They will be kept at Sitagu Vipassana University, Sitagu Buddhist Academy and Buddha Hospital for 21 days of quarantine. On arrival at Sagaing, specialists, medical officers and nurses from local medical battalion and Sagaing People’s Hospital will perform necessary medical checkup on them, and such medical examination will be carried out daily. Aureum Palace Hotel will donate ready-made curries for daily meals to them while Mytel will donate SIM cards installed with one month Internet facility to them. Upon completion of quarantine period, Sitagu Sayadaw will donate cash for nine prerequisites to members of the Sangha.