The Ombudsman has stepped in to mediate a dispute between the Fine Arts Department and more than 1,600 locals in Phimai district who claim the department has declared 2,600 rai of their land an archaeological site.
The villagers insist they have legal rights to the land, which was included as part of the archaeological site that is home to one of the largest Khmer temples in the country.
They also said the department made the declaration without first listening to the opinions of affected locals.
By not doing so, the department is believed to be in violation of Section 58 of the constitution, a source said.
A meeting was held yesterday to try and resolve the dispute. It was led by the Office of the Ombudsman and attended by department deputy director-general Phanombut Chantharachot and affected residents.