Chavalit backs talks with BRN leaders
Narathiwat rally urges locals to cooperate with Thai officialsFormer prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyuth yesterday backed the government's attempt to resolve the insurgency in the Deep South via talks with separatists.
Chavalit said he agreed with National Security Council (NSC) chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabutr's signing of an agreement for talks with Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) executive Hassan Taib in Malaysia on Feb 28.
He said talks would be a first step toward an acceptable solution to the region. He said Taib was a senior leader with roles and importance to the armed group, hence this agreement for talks was meaningful.
Some analysts have argued that many insurgent groups operate in the region and that talks with BRN may not matter much or could lead to problems. But Chavalit said the government should talk with one group at a time as they couldn't talk with all groups at the same time.
Asked if he would join the Thai agencies' talks with separatists, Chavalit said he had no idea yet and preferred being on the sideline, because those responsible for talks and their advisers were capable, so once the talks started, good things would happen in the region.
Chavalit presided yesterday over a contest in Chana in Songkhla by the Thailand Barred Ground Dove Enthusiast Association amid tight security.
Meanwhile, about 1,000 people rallied in front of the Narathiwat Islamic committee office against violence in the area and urged people to cooperate with Thai officials to resolve the crisis.
Despite peace talks looming on the horizon, the region continues to endure violence. In Narathiwat's Sungai Padi district, four suspected insurgents on two motorbikes opened fire with an M16 rifle at eight schoolboys playing basketball on Friday evening, wounding a 15-year-old boy Tripat Warunee on his left hip.
In Than To in Yala, suspected insurgents set fire to two closed-circuit television cameras at 3am yesterday installed on power poles.
Meanwhile, a poll by Hat Yai University found that people gave the score of 3.76 out of 10 to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatr's government's efforts to tackle the unrest. Poll director Wiwat Chankingthong said while some 60 per cent of respondents said the assignment of Wadah politicians as advisers wouldn't help alleviate the violence, the poll also found that 63 per cent thought the NSC-BRN agreement to talks wouldn't help either, while 37 per cent thought otherwise. Slightly over half agreed with cancellation of the emergency law in five districts in the area to use the Internal Security Act instead.
In Bangkok, the House committee on education, chaired by MP Prakob Rattanaphan, urged security agencies to step up protection for teachers in the Deep South and called for compensation paid to relatives of slain teachers to be paid at the same rate as people affected by the political turmoil.
The committee took up a study's suggestions on the issue made by Rungroj Trongsakul, deputy dean of Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University's Education Faculty, and Sanniang Kulcharin, chair of the Association of Thai Teachers and administrators for education reform.