While the junta thinks that Thai Buddhism will be purified by arresting the former abbot of Wat Dhammakaya, experts point out a lack of secularism and political tolerance is a real threat to the dominant religion. On 10 March 2016, Chiang Mai Univeristy’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology hosted a seminar “Dhammakaya Crisis, Social Crisis?” The panel discussed the ongoing harassment of Wat Dhammakaya and tried to propose a proper solution for society.
Over the past three weeks, right-wing media have been demonising Wat Dhammakaya and justifying the junta’s crackdown by linking the sect to the red-shirt movement. An expert points out that the longer the process continues, the harder it will be to find a peaceful end. On 3 March 2016, True Vision, a local cable television provider, blocked the broadcast of an Al Jazeera report on the Thai junta’s harassment of the Dhammakaya sect.
Monks and worshippers of the Dhammakaya sect have staged a protest against orders for the arrest of their spiritual leader, after the authorities blocked them from entering the temple. On 22 February 2017, Ai Petthong, a representative of Dhammakaya followers, told the media that the authorities have prohibited over a thousand worshippers from entering Dhammakaya temple.
The many and various oversight mechanisms of the new constitution became ever more tangled over the last week with the revelation that the National Anti-Corruption Commission has initiated an investigation into alleged irregularities at the National Ethics Assembly after a petition by members of the Senate. In turn, the Senate announced it would pursue impeachment proceedings against the National Ethics Assembly in response to a report from the National Anti-Corruption Commission looking into unethical behaviour by the ethics watchdog.