Outgoing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has told the National Security Council (NSC) to take action against a group of activists that called for a public referendum on whether there should be a Muslim "Pattani State" independent from Thailand.
The referendum call came in a seminar titled "Self-determination", which introduced the "National Student Movement" or "Pelajar Bangsa" of the four southern border provinces that encouraged local residents to cast a vote for such a move at the Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Pattani campus, on Wednesday.
NSC secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom on Friday said that the NSC informed the premier about the matter and then ordered a fact-finding probe into the individuals concerned out of fears the call could lead to disunity. The NSC will hold a meeting next Monday to discuss the matter.
"The call for a public referendum on independence is apparently illegal and doesn't benefit anyone," said Mr Supoj.
"The security law must be imposed in the South in an attempt to prevent damages to properties and danger to people. Moreover, there is also the mechanism of peaceful dialogue which widens the chances of academics and representatives from many sectors participating in a discussion without activities that lead to societal disharmony."
Meanwhile, Somchai Sawaengkan, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Human Rights, Freedom and Consumer Protection, urged the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) and security agencies to investigate the matter as he believed there might be a political party behind this pulling the strings.
Mr Somchai also urged the Election Commission (EC) to inspect certain politicians and elected MPs who attended the event. He claims he has a video clip of them.
"I believe that these students had no idea their move was illegal as there must have been adults behind this. We can respect freedom of expression, but a whole separatist movement will cause too much commotion," he said.