Charge them in court: Indian groups tell PM at special meet - Malaysiakini

Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 12/14/2007 08:40:00 PM | 0 Pandangan »

RK Anand Dec 14, 07 3:36pm

The five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders
detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) should be charged in court instead.

This was the appeal made by the Indian non-governmental organisations and community leaders who met with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya this morning.The closed-door meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, started at about 10.20am. Also present was MIC president S Samy Vellu.
According to a source, who was at the meeting, the premier started off with the Hindraf topic.

"We unanimously appealed to him to review the use of ISA and charge those arrested in an open court," he told Malaysiakini.

"This will also help safeguard the country’s image," he added.

Also raised was the case of the 31 Hindraf supporters charged with attempted murder and are currently in jail after being denied bail."We told him that innocent people are also part of that group and the prime minister promised to look into it," he said.

The 31 were arrested in connection with the Nov 25 rally organised by Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur which saw some 30,000 people taking to the streets. It is believed that the attempted murder charged may be dropped, and replaced with the unlawful assembly charge.

Yesterday, the police arrested Hindraf’s legal advisers P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau and organising secretary T Vasantha Kumar under the ISA.

Earlier, Abdullah had accused the movement, which in return had accused the government of marginalising Indians and subjecting them to ethnic cleansing, of attempting to destroy the country.

Samy's presence 'uncomfortable'

Meanwhile, the source said the meeting with Abdullah was "fruitful".

"The premier did give us his big ears, and a lot of issues were discussed."

However, he lamented that some of those present did not make an effort to contribute effectively to the discussion."Getting a platform to air our grouses to the prime minister is something difficult, and to be there without saying much is disappointing. There should have been a more effective representation," he said.

He also did not discount the possibility that the presence of Samy Vellu could have deterred some individuals from voicing out their opinions.

"It was uncomfortable," he said, adding that the MIC president was there as an observer.He did not say anything during the discussion but just took down notes, said the source.

Other issues discussed include the socio-economic status of the Indian community and how the government's delivery system is not trickling down to the grassroots.

The prime minister was also told to look into the self-help programmes designed for the upliftment of the Indian community.

'MIC becoming irrelevant'

Meanwhile, another source said some of those present at the meeting had praised the MIC and its veteran president.

"The government must stop turning to MIC in wanting to tackle the problems faced by the Indian community. The party is becoming increasingly irrelevant," he claimed.
"A lot of disgruntled MIC members have joined PPP and now you have KS Nallakaruppan having started a new party (Malaysian Indian United Party)," he added.

The source said Samy Vellu’s presence must have dissuaded some of those present from airing their points in a frank and open manner.

"They would have to face him later on," he noted.Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported that the effectiveness of the meeting had come
under scrutiny as the more critical voices in the community were not invited.

Those present at the meeting were the National Land Cooperative Society Limited (NLFCS), the Malaysian Hindu Sangam, Hindu Youth Organisation, Malaysian Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Tamil Youth Bell Club, Malaysian Indian Youth Council, Malaysian Indian Business Association, Hindu Dharmam Mahamandram, National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), human rights commissioner N Siva Subramaniam and economist Dr R Thillainathan.

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