Student activist Netiwit seeks delay to conscription

Student activist Netiwit seeks delay to conscription

Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal holds a sign denouncing mandatory conscription as ‘obsolete and unnecessary’. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, who opposes conscription, sought student deferment Tuesday of his military service while condemning the draft as obsolete and unnecessary.

Carrying a sign that read: “There are several ways to demonstrate patriotism. Mandatory conscription is obsolete and unnecessary,” the Chulalongkorn University political science student turned up at a conscription unit at Wat Rat Phothong in Samut Prakan’s Muang district to lodge his deferment request.

Mr Netiwit said he would seek the postponement of his military service until he completes his studies, while noting that people who have already completed their studies should be allowed to perform other tasks to serve the country, not be drafted into the military.

The activist 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 pointed out he might do a research study on military conscription as part of his political science degree.

He also thanked the army chief for apologising publicly for the death of a private, beaten at a military camp as he questioned the safety of young men drafted for military training.

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

In Samut Prakan, the conscription ballot which began on Saturday would conclude today.

Meanwhile, a 58-year-old man was found dead in his home in Krabi’s Nua Khlong district after he allegedly threatened to commit suicide if his son was drafted into the military, police said.

Sompong [surname not available] was found hanged in his bedroom.

His wife, who had just returned after accompanying their son to the conscription ballot, discovered the body.

She told police that Sompong had told her and neighbours he would kill himself if their son was drafted before they went to the conscription venue.

He called her to ask what had happened and hung up without saying anything, after learning his son was drafted.

She said she went home to find him dead and called for help.

Police said the body was sent for an autopsy at Nua Khlong Hospital. No word was to hand on how long it will take.

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