Mawlamyine, 19 October

Military council is making efforts to attract pilgrims to Mon State’s famous Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, which is a tourist destination for hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign visitors.

The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda Festival is held every year for seven months, from the full moon day of the Thadingyut to the full moon day of Kason. In the past three years, the festival has not been crowded due to the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability.

The military council, on the other hand, has reformed the board of trustees for this year’s Kyaiktiyoo Pagoda Festival, and they are working to upgrade vehicles and prepare the roads, as well as instructing the officials to serve food and snacks during the festival.

An official of the Kyaiktiyo Trustee Association said, “Preparations have been made for the revival of the Pagoda Festival, and the army and the police will provide security. We will traditionally open the seven-month festival season on Sunday, October 29, the full moon day of Thadingyut. Restaurants, guesthouses, and hotels are all open to pilgrims. The junta-appointed Mon State authorities held a meeting on October 9 to make the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda Festival more crowded and organized various committees.

“The military council’s attempt to crowd Kyaiktiyo with visitors is to spread propaganda that the area is stable, and in this situation, we urge the people to be extra cautious,” said an official from the Kyaikto Revolutionary Force (KRF).

The military council seems to want to blame the revolutionary forces and use religion to drive a wedge among the people, and the resistance fighters appeal to the pilgrims to stay away from the regime forces.

On October 12, last year, three pilgrims were killed and at least 10 were injured in the exchange of fire between the two groups at the Kyaiktiyo bus station.

After the incident, the military council tightened security around the area, and the number of pilgrims from both domestic and foreign countries decreased significantly.

Prior to the seizure of power, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda was able to attract more than two million domestic and foreign pilgrims each year, but the number of pilgrims declined drastically due to the instability of the area.

News-Than Lwin Times

Photo-Than Lwin Times

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