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Authorities say religious conflict not behind beheading of Pattani Buddha image

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PHOTO: Temple Thai

The beheading of a revered Buddha image in the Muslim-dominated southern border province of Pattani was the work of a temple boy and not a religious conflict, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Region 4 Internal Security Operation Command. The head of “Phra Chao Ong Dam”, showing Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree or “tree of awakening”, inside the temple known locally as Wat Hua Khao, was found to have been cut off on the night of July 27.

Police recovered a hammer, an axe, a long-handled knife and a white long-sleeved T-shirt from the area. After an investigation and examination of security footage, police suspected it was the work of Kriangsak Thepracha, who had lived in the temple and was called a “dek wat” or temple boy. Kriangsak denied it was he who damaged the Buddha image, saying he wasn’t on the temple grounds when it took place.

But further investigation found solid evidence against Kriangsak and a court issued a warrant for his arrest for “damaging a Buddhist image or a revered religious object in a temple or a religious place.”

The statement from the ISOC said that what happened was not a religious conflict but the work of a person who “lacked morality and respect for the law”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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