Anti-conscription activist Netiwit seeks deferment

Anti-conscription activist Netiwit seeks deferment

Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal holds up a sign opposing conscription as he seeks the postponement of his military service this year, at Wat Rath Phothong conscription unit in Muang district of Samut Prakan on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

SAMUT PRAKAN – Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, who strongly opposes military conscription as “outdated”, on Tuesday sought deferment of his service this year.

Mr Netiwit, a first-year political science student at Chulalongkorn University, showed up at the conscription unit at Wat Rath Phothong in Muang district on Tuesday morning.

Carrying a paper sign stating, “There should be several ways to demonstrate patriotism. Mandatory conscription is outdated and not necessary,” the 21-year-old student activist said he disagreed with military  conscription. 

People who completed their studies should be allowed to perform other tasks to serve the country, not be called up into the military as conscripts, said Mr Netiwit. He saw military conscription as pointless.

Mr Netiwit is among hundreds of thousands of young men called to report for this year’s military draft. He has made it known he is opposed to conscription on moral grounds, and advocates voluntary recruiting.

He thanked the army chief for his apology for the death of a private who was savagely beaten at a military camp. He said he questioned the safety of young men drafted for military training.

Mr Netiwit said he would seek the postponement of his military service until he completes his studies.

Lt Col Rungsayam Permmee,  chairman of Samut Prakan’s military conscription screening panel, said a total of 785 young men would be conscripted in the province this year.

In Samut Prakan, the ballot process began on April 1 and concludes on April 5. On Tuesday about  500 men would take part in the ballot process. Another 500 were still on the draft list and they must report by April 5 they wished to seek a postponement, he said

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