Thai authorities carried out a massive search on student dormitories around Ramkhamhaeng University, an open university in Bangkok with large Muslim student population from Southern Thailand, claiming to search for illicit drugs.   

According to Muslim Students Federation of Thailand (MUSTFETH), about 1,800 military and police officers in plain clothes and uniforms on Saturday carried out a large scale search on student dormitories around Ramkhamhaeng University in Bang Kapi District, eastern part of Bangkok, including, student dormitories in adjacent areas along Lat Phrao Road and Wang Thonglang District.

The officers claimed that the operation was a part of the program called ‘Peaceful Ramkhamhaeng’ and forced students to cooperate with the search.

The officers also asked 10 students to undergo urinary test to find illicit drug intake. However, no evidence of illicit drug was found, MUSTFETH reported.

On Sunday, MUSTFETH issued a statement pointing out that the operation was a violation of human rights and was contradicting to the state’s attempts to foster political reconciliation and mend the conflicts in Thailand’s restive Muslim South.

The organisation demands that the authorities must clarify the purposes of the search operation and identify which articles of the constitution allows them to carry out such operation.  

The collection of DNA samples of suspects against the suspects’ will should not be permitted as well because it violates of human rights and might be abused by officers, MUSTFETH added.    

The Muslim student organisation concluded in the statement that such operation would deepen distrust between Muslim people and authorities, which would put greater obstacles in the reconciliation and peace processes in the restive Deep South.