Thai military stops Lahu minority from filing complaint on land rights to junta

 
The Thai military in the western province of Tak on Monday stopped a caravan of Lahu villagers travelling to Bangkok to complain to the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), according to Thairath. 
 
Around noon on Monday, Gen Narongsak Sasang, deputy commander of security forces in Tak, led military and police to stop a caravan of 15 vans of ethnic minority Lahu from Tak’s Mae Sot District.
 
The military believed that the Lahu wanted to complain about the reclamation of their farm lands, under the policy initiated by the junta. However, the villagers denied the allegation, saying that they were just travelling to central Pathum Thani Province to participate in a Kathin ceremony (annual Buddhist merit-making ceremony). The military checked and told the group that there was no ceremony at the temple. 
 
Earlier, the Lahu were affected by the operation of army units who went to the village to reclaim land around Taksin Maharat National Park last week. This led to resentment among the villagers and the alleged caravan, Thairath reported. 
 
Since the coup on 22 May, 18 communities across the country have reportedly been affected by the junta’s “Return the Forest” policy.