Plaque fate spurs police complaint

Plaque fate spurs police complaint

A group of students file a complaint asking Dusit police to find the missing memorial plaque of the 1932 Siamese Revolution. One of them holds a sign reading: ‘The plaque: Where has it gone?’ Thiti Wannamontha

A grandson of a member of Khana Ratsadon yesterday filed a complaint to police asking them to find the memorial plaque of the 1932 Siamese Revolution which recently disappeared from the Royal Plaza in Bangkok.

The plaque, which had been fitted into the road near the King Rama V equestrian statue at the Royal Plaza in Dusit district, has been replaced by a new plaque, causing outrage among activists who want to know the whereabouts of the old one.

Prit Rattanakul Serireungriddhi, the 30-year-old grandson of Luang Rattanakul Serireungriddhi, who was part of Khana Ratsadon, filed a complaint at Dusit police station.

He was accompanied by three students from Chulongkorn University, Kasetsart University and Ramkhamhaeng University.

Khana Ratsadon (the People’s Party) was a group of military and civil officers that carried out the revolution on June 24, 1932, changing the country’s absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.

Mr Pharit said that the memorial plaque was of historic significance as it symbolises a major change in Thai politics.

He said he represents the descendants of members of the Khana Ratsadon in asking authorities to help recover the memorial plaque.

Some of the descendants are upset by the removal of the memorial plaque, Mr Pharit said, adding that it is public property.

“We made history when the constitutional monarchy was established on that day. I personally think it’s the best rule Thailand has ever had,” he said.

“The descendants of Khana Ratsadon members have mixed feelings about the incident so I’ve volunteered to represent them.”

Mr Pharit also questioned why Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has been silent over the issue, given the party’s founder and first leader was also a member of Khana Ratsadon.

He referred to Khuang Aphaiwong, who served as prime minister between 1944-1948.

Pol Capt Mor Rana of the Dusit police station, who received the complaint, said Mr Pharit wants police to recover the missing plague.

The plaque being state property, anyone can file a complaint over its theft, the officer said.

Asked whether police had examined footage from closed-circuit television cameras in the area, Pol Lt Col Supak Wongsawat, deputy superintendent in charge of investigations at the Dusit police station, said his superior has yet to give such instructions.

Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol Gen Dejnarong Sutthichanbancha said he has not yet received any reports of the whereabouts of the plaque and has no information relating to CCTV footage.

Weng Tojirakarn, co-leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, said the person who removed the plaque was looking to erase history.

Its disappearance means future generations will not have the chance to learn about the country’s history, Dr Weng said.

The Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights yesterday called on the prime minister, the president of the National Legislative Assembly, the House of Representatives’ secretariat and other agencies to take legal action against anyone who removed the plaque.

The group also asked members of the public to join in the search to help put the plaque back in its rightful place at the Royal Plaza.

Somparn Promta, a specialist on the National Culture Commission and a former lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts, said he will raise the matter at an upcoming commission meeting.

An online petition on calling on authorities to find and reinstate the missing plaque drew more than 2,000 signatures as of 6.30pm yesterday.

The memorial plaque, made of brass, bears an inscription reading: “Here at dawn on June 24, 1932, Khana Ratsadon brings into being the constitution for the sake of the country’s prosperity.”

The new plaque bears a distinctly different message: “May Siam be blessed with prosperity forever. May the people be happy and cheerful and become the strength of the country.”

The rim around the surface of the new plaque also says: “The respect for Phra Ratanattaya (The Three Jewels — Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha), the state, one’s family, and the faithfulness towards one’s king will all contribute to the prosperity of one’s state.”