Dhammakaya monks on hunger strike against S44

Dhammakaya monks on hunger strike against S44

Monks go on a hunger strike outside Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani on Wednesday demanding a Section 44 order imposed on the temple be lifted. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasil)
Monks go on a hunger strike outside Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani on Wednesday demanding a Section 44 order imposed on the temple be lifted. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasil)

Several monks are on a hunger strike outside Wat Phra Dhammakaya to pressure the government into lifting the Section 44 order used to take control of the temple.

Seven monks began the hunger strike at Khlong Luang market outside the temple on Wednesday and the temple warned that more will join them until authorities end the special power used to take control of the vast compound.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya has repeatedly demanded the lifting of Section 44 imposed on the temple to help authorities led by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) arrest the former abbot Phra Dhammajayo.

The former abbot faces several arrest warrants on charges over forest encroachment in connection with his meditation centres in several provinces, money laundering and receiving stolen assets in connection with the multi-billion-baht embezzlement at Klongchan Credit Union Co-operative.

So far, they have not found the 72-year-old monk after searching the premises.

Police are blocking monks and disciples of the temple from going inside and convincing those inside to leave as they are confident that the embattled monk is still hiding in the temple in Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani.

Monks at the temple are tight-lipped on his whereabouts.

The latest talks on Wednesday to get permission for another search collapsed after five hours.

The temple rejected another search, said DSI deputy director-general Pol Maj Col Suriya Singhakamol after talks with the temple led by deputy abbot Phra Thattachewo.

Also on Wednesday, four senior officials responsible for areas around the temple have been transferred to inactive posts as they were seen helping monks and followers of Phra Dhammajayo.

Video by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

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