PHNOM PENH, Nov. 4, (Khmer Times) – A group of monks from the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice (IMNSJ) have demanded that senior Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) lawmaker Chheang Vun apologize publicly for insulting Buddhism.
Buth Buntenh, founder of the IMNSJ, said that Mr. Vun bought beer for boat racers to consume on pagoda grounds, which is a serious breach of Buddhist regulations.
Mr. Vun is also under fire from the IMNSJ for trying to make monks wear normal clothes rather than their robes when they participate in land disputes between the government and villagers.
“If you want to get involved in any such activities you can defrock first, in order not to affect Buddhism,” National Assembly member Mr. Vun commented. Monks in robes were supporting a villager in a discussion with the CPP on land disputes Monday.
Mr. Buntenh assured him that monks are taking part in local politics in an appropriate manner and their actions are not against Buddhism’s strictures.
He also said that if Mr. Vun does not apologize to the IMNSJ, he will take measures forcing him to do so.
“We will submit petitions and go on marches after the Water Festival. If he [Mr. Vun] still does not apologize, we will physically force him to put his hands together and make him do so the next time he enters an IMNSJ affiliated pagoda,” said Mr. Buntenh.