You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

Push to make Buddhism state religion: Thailand

According to official sources, about 95% of Thailand's total population are Buddhists.

IANS  |  Bangkok 

Lord Buddha
Lord Buddha

Several Buddhist groups here are hoping that the drafters of a new constitution for the country will include Buddhism as Thailand's official state religion, a media report said on Sunday.

Supporters have declared that this time proposals to the drafters would be made peacefully, after a previous attempt failed during the coup-installed government of former prime minister Surayud Chulanont in 2007, The Bangkok Post reported.

The Constitution Drafting Assembly in 2007 had rejected a proposal to make Buddhism the state religion in the draft charter, which resulted in violent protests staged by monks outside the Thai parliament.

"No government has ever taken an interest in Buddhism, resulting in a decline in the religion," said Korn Meedee, the secretary of a committee to promote Buddhism as the state religion.

Supporters of the move want the government to enact bills to patronise and protect Buddhism with heavy penalties, such as jail terms for monks who cause "harm and disgrace" to the religion, and also eradicate images that do not properly represent it.

"We want to eradicate non-pure forms of Buddhism, such as using the religion for commercial purposes, as well as the use of Hindu statues inside Buddhist temples," said Korn, who added that the move would not infringe the rights of other religions.

In the past week, the group has distributed 100,000 forms for a petition in all provinces except the Muslim-dominated Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

According to official sources, about 95 per cent of Thailand's total population are Buddhists.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, October 25 2015. 15:55 IST