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Wed, March 14, 2007 : Last updated 21:35 pm (Thai local time)

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Home > National > Amulets to 'help protect' Buddhists in South

Amulets to 'help protect' Buddhists in South

Abdullah Barahamae, a 13-year-old disabled fourth-grader, is carried by his teacher while inspecting the charred remains of his electric wheelchair at his school in Yala’s Yaha district, which became a target of arson attack by suspected insurgents on Mon
The security forces in the troubled South have announced their intention to produce spiritualist trinkets in a bid to protect the Buddhist minority from harm.

Colonel Manas Khongpan, deputy director of the Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc) in Yala, said yesterday that Jatukham Rammathep talismans would be made for Buddhists in the predominantly Muslim region.

The famous animist amulet is believed to have magical power to protect its holder from violence. Although it has no relation to Buddhism, many Thai Buddhists believe in the talisman's power and are prepared to pay large sums for them.

Isoc in Yala will produce the amulets at a temple in the province by May and then bring them to a blessing at Nakhon Si Thammarat, the original home of the amulet, Manas said.

The Boun Ban Dan amulets, meaning the "power of virtue", will be sold to Buddhists and security officials in the region.

The southern Buddhist population of around 300,000 is often the target of violence carried out by Muslim militants, who are determined to chase them out of the area, Manas said.

"The production of the Jatukham amulets will give moral support to Buddhists and help sustain the religion," the colonel said, as if the amulets were linked with the faith.

Many Thai Buddhists mix animism with their religious worship.

Any profits from amulet sales will be spent containing violence and the money will be managed transparently, he said.

A spate of violence erupted in the deep South at the beginning of 2004 and around 2,000 people have been killed since.

It continued yesterday in Yala's Bannang Sata district as militants sprayed bullets at a passing pickup truck, killing one person and injuring six.

Police said some 10 Buddhists on the truck were attacked while travelling back from a funeral in neighbouring Pattani province. Some of the group briefly returned fire before retreating.

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