Public warned About the Junta’s Fake Anti- Buddhist Claims against KNU

KNU responds that it is military shells that have damaged religious sites both Christian and Buddhist Karen State — KNU spokesperson Padoh Saw Kala Say has warned the public that the Junta has been spreading false allegations claiming that KNU and People's Defense Force (PDF) had raided and vandalised religious structures, pagodas, and stupas at the Daysompa parish site in Payagi Township, Bago Region.

However this particular fake news spread on military’s social media platforms occurred soon after the Karen National Union (KNU), rejected an invitation to dialogue with the Military Council. The KNU has now warned the public about the regime’s deliberate disinformation campaign, spreading allegations aimed at sowing discord and division inside the KNU.

Padoh Saw Kala Say told KIC, “After the KNU declined the Military Council’s invitation to political talks, they spread false information in an attempt to sow discord among us. It’s simply a tactic in their psychological warfare strategy. They are making baseless accusations to weaken the relationship between KNU and our partner organizations, diminish public support for us, and damage our reputation. In reality their claims are the opposite of the truth.”

The KNU related that, “In the Daysompa incident, what really happened is that a military unit led by an officer from the Junta’s 90th Light Infantry Battalion, falsely accused PDF fighters of taking refuge in Daysompa.” Padoh Saw Kala Say added that “ and this military unit hired some individuals carry out acts of vandalism targeting religious buildings., and forcefully displaced monks and nuns from the area.”

During the two years since the coup, the Military Council has stationed themselves in religious buildings, launched airstrikes and shelling on religious sites, resulting in the destruction of not only monasteries but also churches within KNU-controlled areas, and causing harm to individuals residing in these religious structures. Nevertheless, the Military Council has consistently made baseless accusations, falsely attributing these attacks to the revolutionary forces without presenting concrete evidence.

He also cautioned against forgetting the biggest setback in KNU’s history, which was the fall of Manerplaw, attributing it to the false propaganda Military Council exploited during that time when media coverage was limited. Padoh Saw Kalal Say further emphasized that KNU upholds the principles of freedom of religion in accordance with human rights, and has no intention whatsoever of targeting religious structures.

A local from Bago Region said, “If people believe the false information the Military Council is spreading, it will only benefit the regime. We the local community can best judge whether their misinformation is true or false. In Myanmar, the Military has exploited religious faith to consolidate their rule for a long time. They often express concern about religion disappearing, but there’s no one in their organization who truly follows the gentle teachings of religion”,

The Military Council disseminated false propaganda, alleging that KNU damaged religious structures in Daysompa, a Buddhist religious site, due to the presence of many Christians within ethnic resistance organizations including KNU, which is engaged in a nationwide revolutionary struggle against the Military Council. The Military Council has also falsely claimed that the ongoing conflict is not rooted in politics, but rather portrayed it as a religious war.

“The Military Council, which is losing ground in various ways, is desperately attempting to break the connection between the people and the revolutionary forces. They seem to believe that by sowing fear and panic among the people, they can deter the revolution. That’s why they are ramping up this kind of propaganda, aimed at creating divisions and launching attacks on civilian areas. We must all recall that the Military Council has openly carried out arrests, killings, and imprisonments of Buddhist monks, as well as shelling of monasteries in recent times”, Padoh Saw Kalal Say pointed out.

According to the 2023 population census published by the Military Council, out of Myanmar’s 56.2 million population, over 80 percent are identified as Buddhists.

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