BANGKOK Thailand’s military junta eliminated the main of the department liable for overseeing Buddhist affairs and replaced him with a police officer on Saturday, amid a stand-off between officers and monks at the country’s most significant temple.
Countless numbers of followers of the Dhammakaya Temple have defied orders to depart temple grounds for above a week, blocking makes an attempt by police to find out their previous abbot, who is accused of cash laundering.
The standoff at the scandal-strike temple signifies a person of the biggest difficulties to the authority of Thailand’s junta given that it took energy in 2014.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha utilised what critics simply call “the dictator’s regulation” to swap Phanom Sornsilp, the lay head of the Countrywide Workplace of Buddhism, with an official from the Department of Special Investigations (DSI).
“The reforms have to be implemented rapidly and can not abide by usual technique,” the statement in the Royal Gazette asserting the move stated.
The DSI are presently in demand of ongoing functions to find and arrest Phra Dhammachayo at the Dhammakaya Temple. It has purchased 14 other senior monks belonging to the temple to give themselves up or face arrest.
The Countrywide Workplace of Buddhism is liable for the administration of the religion followed by some 95 percent of Thais, but does not have the energy to defrock monks.
The Dhammakaya Temple is abnormal in defying the military government. Opposition from political functions and activists has largely been silenced given that a coup in 2014.
The previous abbot faces expenses of conspiracy to launder cash and obtain stolen goods, as effectively as taking above land unlawfully to make meditation centres. His aides dismiss the accusations as politically determined.
The Dhammakaya Temple’s brasher approach to successful adherents jars on conservatives, who say it exploits its followers and employs religion to make cash. The temple suggests it is as fully commited to Buddhist values as any individual else.
(Reporting by Cod Satrusayang Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Ros Russell)