Wat founder's heirs want adviser probed for lese majeste

national April 05, 2015 01:00

By SUPACHAI PHETCHTHEWEE
THE SUN

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DESCENDANTS of the founders of Wat Kalayanamit in Bangkok's Thon Buri district yesterday urged police to investigate if a recent comment made to media by the temple's chief adviser, Watchara Phromcharoen, violated the Criminal Code's Section 112 regard



Chianchoung Kalayanamit, along with Wat Kalayanamit Community leader Chaiyasit Kittiwanitchapant, and 30 residents presented to Bupparam police the evidence, including a CD record of the televised programme “Kom Chad Luek” on Nation TV on March 19. 
As the two men made guest appearances in the programme, Watchara was a phone-in guest speaker to provide information about the temple restoration project. The two men urged police to investigate if Watchara’s comment that renovations were carried out under the auspices of the Crown Property Bureau was tantamount to lese majeste.
“The renovations at the temple destroy our good memories and the history of our family legacy so I, as an heir of the temple founders, can’t accept it and will fight [via legal actions] until the end,” Chianchoung said.
The temple has been in the headlines recently due to its controversial renovation plan that allegedly damaged the national heritage monument. Some 200 families, who have been living on the temple land as tenants and have been fighting an eviction order from the temple for years, accused the temple of destroying several heritage buildings and replacing them with new structures. 
Department of Fine Arts (DFA) chief Borvornvate Rungrujee last month had affirmed that the temple’s renovation of four buildings – which had received DFA approval – was under Crown Property Bureau sponsorship since 2011 but he said the temple carried out renovation on 22 items in the compound. The DFA had filed 15 cases against it; 10 cases have been dropped by public prosecutors but five cases were ongoing. He said the DFA would ask the temple to demolish new unauthorised structures this month. 
The temple has postponed its renovation plan pending a ruling by the Administrative Court.

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