PM condemns separating Thailand into 2 states: Responding to news reports regarding alleged separatist action in the North, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday said the government of Thailand fully supports national unity and does not support separatism.
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has reportedly instructed the Third Army to pursue legal action against a red-shirt splinter group engaged in activities that could be construed as seeking to separate Thailand and form a new state.
The army filed a police complaint against Petcharawat Wattanapongsirikul, who is a core member of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group. The complaint alleges separatism and treason under Sections 113 and 114 of the Criminal Code, according to reports.
The charges against Mr Phetcharawat concern separatism in connection with the group’s activities in the name of the Sor Por Por Lanna, by putting up a cloth banner on the walkover at the Don Chan intersection of Chiang Mai which read: “There is no justice in this country. We want to separate to form Prathet Lanna.”
Ms Yingluck said the allegations need further investigation, as well as whether more than one group was involved in the alleged separatist movement.
The prime minister added that she does not believe such a movement exists, according to reports.
“I want to see Thailand as being one and inseparable, including the three southern border provinces where problems are being solved through negotiations,” she said.
When asked whether red-shirts groups would be warned against efforts to partition Thailand into separate states, Ms Yingluck said all sides would be warned against breaking the law, and that judicial process and proper legal procedure would be used to deal with those who do.
She said that while she supports the army taking legal action against any group that promotes separatism, it must treat all such groups in the same way, so that no group is discriminated against.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul spoke out in defence of the Chiang Mai red-shirts, saying that they did not promote separatism.
Mr Surapong, who is also chief adviser to the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), called on Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to be neutral and understand that the people felt uneasy with the nation’s justice and political systems which, he claimed, had double-standards.
“I can give you an assurance that the northern people are not instigating separatism or a division in society.
“They are only expressing their feelings about the justice system and its double-standards, particularly the Civil Court’s ban on the CMPO’s orders issued under the emergency decree,” said Mr Surapong.
He said the Chiang Mai and Phayao red-shirts had fought for democracy, unlike People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who he accused of instigating unrest.