Police, Buddhist monks clash at Thai temple

Bangkok, Feb 20: Clashes broke out on Monday at a Thai Buddhist temple after monks resisted orders from authorities to vacate the premises and allow the police to raid the temple in search of its controversial abbot. At least two policemen were injured in the skirmishes at Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thai province, along with several monks and supporters. The police have been searching the temple for several days for former abbot Phra Dhammachayo, who is facing charges of land encroachment, money laundering and embezzling funds received as dotions from a fincial cooperative, Efe news reported. After officials complained of being impeded by worshippers camping at the temple, authorities issued an order demanding that all followers and monks not residing in the compound leave the premises by Sunday.

However, the abbot’s supporters defied the order, with many more rushing to the temple, and on Monday an estimated 300 worshippers and 300 monks remained at the complex, facing off against around 1,000 police officials. Officials told local media that they wanted to avoid clashes and insisted that they were in control of the situation. (IANS)