By Surasak Tumcharoen
BANGKOK, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The chronic political unrest in Thailand has led to the emergence of a novel, if not a bizarre, idea that some analyst here described as unpatriotic or designed mainly to divide the Thai society.
Some anti-government demonstrators in the capital are claiming that northern Thailand, known as political stronghold of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, is now hatching a plan to secede from the rest of the country and set up a brand-new nation of its own to be named Sor Por Por Lanna.
The caretaker premier, a native of Chiang Mai, assured the Thai public that she will never support any secessionist plan by any organization even if it is allied with the ruling party that she heads.
All pro-Yingluck Red Shirt leaders have also categorically dismissed the alleged ploy to divide the country or promote the set-up of armed militia anywhere, no matter how critical the political conflict might become.
They said that such "groundless" accusation could undermine Red Shirt movement and could nurture more hatred by the Thai public toward pro-government activists.
According to Chulalongkorn University political scientist Puangtong Pavakapun, this idea, repugnant as it is, could have been hatched by those who may have had enough of what has been going on during the last few months in the Thai capital.
Puangtong said that such rumors, although unconfirmed, have spread widely and could remain in the minds of the Thai people and further deepen the rift between the pro-government sector, including Red Shirt members and those loyal to Yingluck and her Pheu Thai (for Thais) Party, and the anti-government movement led by former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban and several other former Democrat Party legislators.
"To begin with, the initials (in Thai alphabet) Sor Por Por do not stand for Sataranarat Prachatipatai Prachachon (people's democratic republic) as misunderstood by the military, who obviously have been misinformed," she said.
She referred to Army chief Gen. Prayudh Chan-ocha who already told his brother, Third Army Region commander Lt Gen Preecha Chan- ocha, to take legal action against the alleged group of northern people in general and pro-government Red Shirt activists in particular for allegedly conspiring to divide the country.
Indeed, Puangtong said, Sor Por Por stands for Samudcha Pokpong Prachatipatai (assembly for the defense of democracy), a pro- democracy activist group led by university academics who never entertained the idea of secession despite the prolonged anti- government protests in the capital.
The Bangkok-based academics call themselves "Sor Por Por" while their like-minded colleagues in the northern city of Chiang Mai call themselves "Sor Por Por Lanna." The word "lanna" (a million farms) generally refers to the northern Thai region.
The Chulalongkorn academics said the middle class, well-to-do people, particularly the Bangkokians who may have endorsed the anti-government protests, should no longer disrespect and ridicule the rural people as far as the principles of social equality, justice and democratic rule are concerned.
"The protest leaders and their followers have repeatedly humiliated the rural people, saying they were so stupid for allowing themselves to be fooled by the government. Some of these people might have been so angered and frustrated by the anti- government protestors that they may have entertained the idea of not sharing what they have with those with such overbearing views, " she said.
Puangtong endorsed Yingluck's recent call for all the authorities, including the powerful military, to remain fair in treating the conflicting sides on the basis of justice and equality, adding that the allegations of secessionist bid may lead to a fact-finding investigation.