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Minister called over SR statues

The National Assembly’s Seventh Commission is to summon the minister of cult and religion for questioning regarding “illegal” religious statues erected last week and subsequently destroyed by authorities in Siem Reap’s Svay Leu district.

According to Tuon Yokda, a member of the commission on religious affairs, the area contained several objects often used in the rituals of Vietnam’s Tuek Khmao community, including several smaller statues, hundreds of wooden stumps traditionally used for martial arts and unworn monks’ robes.

“I do not know which group this is, but their activity is like the religious violations on Bokor Mountain and Kape Island,” Yokda said.

There has been a Vietnamese religious presence in Svay Leu district since 2012, he added.

However, Seng Somony, spokesman for the Ministry of Cult and Religion, said the site had not been approved for religious use.

He said the ministry welcomed the investigation as an opportunity to clarify the situation.

“We do not want to see religious statues being knocked down like this, it affects emotions,” he said. “The government should prevent it.”

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