Army Commander-in-Chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart on Friday appealed to Phra Dhammachayo to turn himself in to face charges against him in order to spare his faithful followers the hardships of having to show up to protect him.
“I do not want to see 3,000-4,000 people to suffer because of just one man, even though most of them, including monks and lay people, are willing to suffer. I reckon Phra Dhammachayo, in his capacity as leader of Phra Dhammakaya temple, who used to preach the other people for decades should make sacrifice so that there will be peace,” said the army chief.
He expressed sorrow for the death of two Dhammakaya followers – one died reportedly of asthma and the other hanged himself to death from a telephone signal pole – but hoped that their deaths should not be exploited for vested interests.
The army chief also stressed the need the enforcement and respect of the law of the land as paramount instead of putting beliefs above the law.
General Chalermchai said he was convinced that the elusive Dhammachayo is still hiding somewhere in the temple “otherwise there should not have been so much resistance” against the officials in their effort to search for him.