Villagers salute Chea Dara

Khouth Sophak Chakrya, Phnom Penh Post, Nov. 28 2011

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Photo by: Heng Chivoan

A monk sprinkles water over the body of Chea Dara, whose body was pulled from the Mekong hours earlier on Saturday in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district.

A mother whose family face eviction from their home at Boeung Kak lake was farewelled at a funeral on Saturday evening, hours after her body was found in the Mekong River. Chea Dara’s body was identified by family members on Saturday in Samraong Thum commune, Kien Svay district, Kandal province, after three boys fishing in Samraong Thum commune earlier reported seeing a body floating there. Chea Dara’s husband, Doeur Phou, told the Post on Thursday that his wife had jumped off the Chruoy Changva bridge because authorities had condemned their family to homelessness. One week earlier, Chea Dara learned her house was the latest to be cut from a 12.44-hectare onsite relocation area that Prime Minister Hun Sen set aside in August for more than 750 families facing eviction from Boeung Kak after a private company leased the land for real estate development. Lim Thearin, 27, Chea Dara’s brother in-law, found her body after renting a boat and conducting a search following the boys’ report. “Though the body was somewhat swollen, we still identified it as Chea Dara’s because her physical appearance did not change completely,” he said. Three days of dredging the Tonle Bassac River and the lower part of the Mekong had been unsuccessful in finding Chea Dara’s body. Lim Thearin said he and other family members rented a villager’s boat to take Chea Dara’s body from Samraong commune to a boat port in Khos Prak village, Phoum Thum commune, Kien Svay district. They later took Chea Dara’s body to a cemetery in the nearby Vichet Naram pagoda. Bov Saophea, 36, the representative of village 21, which was Chea Dara’s village, said she examined the body and attended the funeral, but Chea Dara’s husband and sons did not directly examine the body. Yesterday, following Chea Dara’s cremation, her family took pieces of her bones to the stupa in Moha Muntrei pagoda in Phnom Penh and will do so again today.

 
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