Villagers in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district protested on Saturday and attempted to defrock the chief monk of a local pagoda after he was accused of praying in Thai, rather than Khmer.
Malai district’s Tuol Pongro commune chief Tem Morn said that about 100 villagers gathered at the Samaki Meahchey pagoda hoping to defrock 53-year-old Buth Sovan because they claimed he was being disrespectful by praying in Thai.
The monk then locked himself in his room and refused to face the crowd, Tem Morn said.
“The villagers are angry with him because he seems to respect Thai religion and he prays in Thai,” the commune chief said.
He added that this was not the first time villagers attempted to defrock the monk, after several empty promises from provincial officials who had promised to resolve the issue.
An officer for the provincial department of cults and religion, who wished to remain anonymous, said yesterday that his department was working on resolving the issue.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at firstname.lastname@example.org