Religious leaders against curfew

Muslim leaders in the far South are opposed to the proposal for a night curfew in areas of the three southernmost border provinces, saying it would have too broad an affect on communities and would not end the violence.

Safa-in Jeloh, chairman of the Islamic Committee of Narathiwat, said he totally disagreed with the idea.

If a curfew was imposed people would have to cancel activities such as travelling to visit relatives, attending a funeral or going to night prayer at the mosques in their communities, he said.

Abdul-asi Jehmana, deputy chairman of the committee, said imposing a curfew would not help solve the insurgency problem.

He called on the government to think this matter over, saying that a careless decision could lead to new problems in the three restive provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

In Pattani, Abdulloh Solae, a villager, said a curfew would definitely affect the people's daily lives. Villagers have to leave their houses before dawn to head to a mosque for morning prayer.

Mada-o Maming, another villager, said many people in Pattani work during the night, particularly rubber tappers. Others have to go out to their fishing rafts at night.

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung (File photos)

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said he holds no hard feelings against Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung despite the strong remarks he made about his opposition to imposing a curfew in parts of the South.

"The committee will meet next Friday to solve the matter, so how can ACM Sukumpol conclude the military disagrees [with the curfew]?"Mr Chalerm said.

"Maybe only one air force officer disagrees," he added.

Mr Chalerm said ACM Sukumpol should ask Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to allow him to take over his security role if he believed he was good enough.

ACM Sukumpol said this was only a difference of opinion.

"Being a superior, it's all right for him to make a nagging remark. There is no hard feeling," he said.

The defence minister said imposing a curfew is a security measure that must be used appropriately and very carefully, adding that Mr Chalerm made the proposal out of good intentions.

The matter would be raised for discussion at the meeting of the committee for implementation of policies and strategies for solving problems in the southern border provinces on Feb 15.  Opinion on this matter from local officials, particularly the 4th Army commander, is necessary, he added.

Mr Chalerm earlier this week said he would propose at the Feb 15 meeting the imposition of a night curfew in certain areas where insurgency-related incidents repeatedly occur, such as Krong Pinang district of Yala and Yaring district of Pattani.

His proposal drew immediate opposition from ACM Sukumpol, who said it was not necessary.

Related search: southern violence, Curfew, religious, leaders, Narathiwat, Pattani, sukumpol suwanatat, chalerm yubamrung

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