Student activist-turned-monk Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal has resisted mandatory conscription, saying he plans to leave the monkhood before the end of the month and fight for his right to reject military service.
On Sunday, the Facebook page of social critic Sulak Sivaraksa's Facebook page displayed an image of a hand-written letter, also dated on Sunday, describing the decision of Phra Netiwit not to show up for compulsory conscription as his right to postpone had expired.
The 27-year-old former activist, named Phra Netiwit Jaranasampanno, wrote that he had publicly opposed compulsory conscription since he was a high school student in 2014 because it violated human rights and liberty.
He wrote that he entered the monkhood on July 10 last year to study Buddhism and if not for the compulsory conscription issue, he would have continued to study the religion as long as it was fulfilling him.
He added that to forestall allegations he was abusing the religion as a means to avoid compulsory conscription, he would leave the monkhood and engage the justice system to fight for an end to mandatory conscription.
He hoped to pass his Pali language examinations on April 15 and 16, he wrote, and then leave the monkhood by the end of the month. He asked that people allow him to spend his remaining time as a monk in peace.
Phra Netiwit was ordained at Wat Nyanavesakavan in Samphran district of Nakhon Pathom. The maxumum time allowed for him to postpone compulsory conscription has expired.