The Pattani provincial police have initiated an investigation into a complaint by the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 4 Forward Command, which concerns a group of students calling for a referendum to establish an independent “Patani state.” According to Pol Maj Gen Archan Chansiri, chief of Pattani provincial police, a team of highly-experienced investigators will be assembled to examine the evidence and interview witnesses prior to summoning those implicated in the case.
On Friday, soldiers from Isoc’s Region 4 Forward Command filed the complaint with the police. The alleged culprits, a collective of students, made their demand during a seminar titled “Self-determination and Patani Peace” hosted at the Prince of Songkla University in Pattani on June 7. A mock referendum took place during the event.
According to an anonymous source, over 10 individuals participated in the call for a separate Patani state, including students and politicians. The activities that took place during the seminar were deemed to be a violation of the constitution, Criminal Code, and Computer Act, thus posing a threat to national security.
Maj Gen Pramote Prom-in, deputy director of Isoc’s Region 4 Forward Command, stated that state agencies are actively advocating fundamental rights, including freedom of expression. However, he emphasized the importance of respecting the rights of others and adhering to the law. Maj Gen Pramote Prom-in also mentioned that the incident could be perceived as an attempt by separatist groups to instigate disturbances in the southernmost provinces.
In response to the situation, the Pattani provincial police believe that their thorough investigation will provide clarity and help prevent any misinterpretation of the students’ intentions. It is crucial to maintain a balance between respecting the rights of citizens and protecting national security interests, while also fostering an environment conducive to dialogue and understanding among all parties involved.
It remains to be seen what the outcome of the investigation will bring, but one thing is for sure – this incident highlights the delicate balance between freedom of expression, national security, and the need for constructive engagement in addressing complex issues in the region. As the country grapples with maintaining stability, all eyes are on the southern provinces, where peace and progress hinge on the collaboration and understanding of various stakeholders.