A temple in Sukhothai province has sued the Fine Arts Department demanding 50 million baht in compensation for damage for the department’s alleged occupation of a small structure housing Phra Arjana, a Buddha statue, and for demanding entry tickets for visitors to the statue.
The abbot of the Srichum temple, Phra Khru Sakharakkriangkrai Supatharo, clarified to the media on Monday that the temple did not want to create any division for taking legal action against the department as well as the Sukhothai historical park.
He said he merely wanted the department to remove the barricade around the Buddha statue so that worshippers could go there to pay respect to the statue.
Each visitor to the temple will be required to pay a 20-baht entry fee to get into the Mondop structure to pay respect to Phra Arjana statue.
The abbot said that the temple and villagers in the neighbourhood had lodged a complaint with the provincial Buddhism Office and the Damrongtham Centre to remove the barricade, but without any success.
However, Mr Bunyarit Chaisuwan, director of Sukhothai historical park, said Monday that he was not worried with the lawsuit filed by the abbot of the Srichum temple, Phra Khru Sakharakkriangkrai Supatharo.
The case has been referred to the legal affairs of the Fine Arts Department for consideration, he said, adding that the present Wat Srichum was a different temple from the Sukhothai-era Wat Srichum.
Mr Bunyarit said monks from Wat Srichum were allowed to get to the Buddha statue through a small bridge to pay their respect free of charge, but tourists and lay people would have to use another access for the sake or orderliness.