Ten monks in Battambang province’s Phnom Proek district are accusing the chief of Domnak Beng pagoda of expelling them on Saturday due to their affiliation with the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and the Independent Monks Network activist group.
Pot Chivoan, one of the expelled monks, maintained yesterday that chief monk Sorn Pov used damage caused to a pagoda fence in a recent tractor accident involving one of Chivoan’s students as evidence before district-level monastic leaders that the political monks had worked their students into a frenzy, thus warranting their expulsion.
Pov denied the allegations yesterday, saying that he had given the monks permission to leave.
“The reason that those monks were fired is that those monks were not happy with living in the pagoda,” he said. “That paper is not an eviction paper, but only a permission paper.”
Pov did, however, add that the root of the conflict was that Chivoan and the others had wanted to install a different chief monk, and had associated with opposition and Buddhist activists.
Chivoan contested Pov’s characterisation of the eviction notice as a permission slip, saying it contained an order not to stay at the pagoda, and that district monastic authorities had threatened the 10 with defrocking.