A Huay Yai abbot is under fire after allowing traveling salespeople to stay in the funeral hall and allegedly discriminating against poor neighbors.
About 30 patrons of Takienthong Temple protested outside the Moo 10 village wat, calling for Abbot Wichaiworawad Tamwaro to be removed from his post.
Huay Yai police and soldiers responded to the rally, which remained peaceful, and Wikomsatsanakit, Huay Yai’s ecclesiastical chief, and police chief Pol. Lt. Col. Anan Purahong received the group’s written petition.
Protestors became upset after Wichaiworawad was given only three months’ probation for improperly renting out the temple’s funeral hall to upcountry peddlers who needed a place to stay.
Some of the protestors had come to the temple during the peddlers’ stay and requested to hold a funeral there, but were refused. They claimed the abbot refused their request because they were poor and could not pay to rent the hall.
Local resident Saipin Boonprakob, 49, asserted that it was not the first time the abbot had refused to help impoverished neighbors.
Pinpitkitjaruk, Banglamung’s dean of monks, called the dispute a misunderstanding, claiming the 70-year-old abbot misspoke and was not discriminating against the poor. However, the use of the temple hall was improper and so he was placed on probation.
The district ecclesiastical chief said the three-month sentence was unrelated to claims by residents that Wichaiworawad has consistently refused service to residents who could not pay. He said temple-goers who feel that way need to file a formal protest with his office.