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Explanation on the Use of Section 44 to Control Dhammayaka Temple

26 February 2017 (Readers 1008)

The National Council for Peace and Order has used Section 44 of the Interim Constitution to impose temporary controls on Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani province for effective law enforcement.
Government Spokesman Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkumnerd explained that officials were performing their duties in a prudent and well-considered manner, in accordance with legal procedures.
Referring to the demand by some devotees of Dhammakaya Temple and some Thai Buddhist monks for the lifting of Section 44, the Government Spokesman said that the issue is not a political or religious matter. It is a matter of criminal offences. The former abbot of the temple faces several arrest warrants on many charges.
He said that it is important to distinguish between religious matters and offences. Officials took steps in holding talks to enter the temple to carry out a search, in accordance with a court order. However, the suspects refused to cooperate with legal authorities, and attempts to perform duties by the authorities were obstructed, and this may pose a risk of violence.
For this reason, the special law has been used to control certain areas to enable integrated efforts of relevant authorities in searching for evidence and bringing those with warrants to justice. It also aims to ensure utmost protection of the lives and property of innocent people in the designated control areas.
Relevant measures will be in place for only a temporary period and enforced proportionately with the situation. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the police are responsible for the operations, while military officers are on standby outside the temples premises.
Members of the media have been urged to spread factual information on the issue for a better understanding of the situation.
Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister
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