Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rose Campaign - Global Peace Campaign supporting Msian Indians


Rose violence: Global demo against M'sia
Feb 17, 08 1:37pm

Indians across the world demonstrated outside the offices of Malaysian embassies and high commissions on Saturday to condemn the government and police, hours after tear gas and water cannons were fired in Kuala Lumpur at people bringing flowers to persuade Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to release five Hindraf leaders from detention.The demonstrations – which took place almost simultaneously in New York, Los Angeles, London, Belgium, Northern Island, Indonesia, New Zealand, New Delhi and Mumbai – were believed to be the first internationally-coordinated action in support of the Indian cause in Malaysia.Although there were no more than a few dozen people protesting in each of the cities, their action underlined the growing disgust among Indians all over the world at Abdullah and his police force, said organisers who e-mailed Malaysiakini with details and pictures of the demonstrations.

Videos were also posted on YouTube.

"Which sicko of a prime minister would allow his police to fire tear gas and chemical-laced water at people trying to bring him flowers?" asked Anantha Paskaran, one of those who led the demonstration outside the Malaysian Consulate General's office in New York."We talk about the Soviet Union, Chechnya and Burma when it comes to human rights violations," said Anantha. "What about this so-called moderate Muslim country Malaysia? It has a police force than can rival the Gestapo and KGB".

On Saturday, Malaysian police used teargas and water cannons to disperse about 300 Hindu Rights Action Force supporters who had gathered along Jalan Raja Laut to hand Abdullah hundreds of roses.Calling it a "rose protest", Hindraf had said it wanted to give the flowers to the premier, asking him, among others, to release the five Hindraf leaders held under the Internal Security Act.

The plan was initially to get a group of children to hand over the roses to Abdullah at Parliament. That, however, fell through when police blockaded roads leading to Parliament, forcing the supporters to group at Jalan Raja Laut instead.The police eventually arrested about 200 people and released all but nine whom they said defied repeated orders to disperse.Abdullah, in an immediate reaction, labelled Hindraf as group of "extremists" out to disrupt general elections scheduled on March 8.

Anantha said it was "most laughable" for the premier to link the incident with the upcoming polls in Malaysia."In what way can the Indians in Malaysia disrupt the electoral process that's underway? They are minorities, marginalised in every sense of the word, and don't even have enough resource to fend for themselves, let alone disrupt a national election," he said.

The 51-year-old former Malaysian-turned-US citizen who runs a financial consultancy in Queens, New York, also appeared to pre-empt any possible remark by Abdullah that Indians outside of Malaysia had no business with what was happening in the country."For the prime minister's information, I still have family members in Malaysia and they are paying income taxes too, so I have every right to speak on their behalf," Anantha said.

He said the weather in New York was below 32 degrees Farenheit (0 degrees Celcius) on Saturday and those who turned up outside the Consulate General's office in Manhattan, including women and children, braved icy winds for nearly 2 hours. "We were freezing on the outside but we were burning on the inside at what's happening to our fellow Indians in Malaysia," Anantha said.

Pictures received by Malaysiakini showed demonstrators carrying placards such as "Malaysia, Provide Equal Opportunity and Equal Treatment for All" and "All Malaysians, Act Now or Lose Your Freedom, Your Rights and Your Identity Forever."In New York, demonstrators even brought a mock coffin for MIC President S Samy Vellu, who has been fiercely criticised for failing the Indian community. A sign above the coffin read: "Samy Vellu – Traitor of Indian Malaysians, R.I.P. (Rest In Peace)." (photo above)

In another interesting picture, five people also wore cut-out pictures of the faces of the five detained Hindraf leaders, holding up their wrists in a symbolic sign of incarceration.A big shamAnd not all those who participated in the foreign demonstrations were Indians of Malaysian origin.

Fiona Lee (photo), an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia, said in comments to Malaysiakini that she decided to join the protest in New York "because these are issues affecting all Malaysians.""To me, the marginalisation of the Indian community is very real," said the 25-year-old, who has lived in the United States for seven years now and is pursuing a doctorate in English at the City University of New York. "I grew up in Cheras and I belonged to a church group that used to visit Indian slums where the children had little access to education, food and even clothing," Lee said. "To say they are being equally treated is the biggest sham.
"There were no officials from the Malaysian Consulate General's office in New York to receive ay memorandums from the protesters. However several officials were seen snapping photographs of the protesting crowd.

The Hindu- News on Roses to PM in M'sia

Hindraf protest thwarted
P. S. Suryanarayana

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Saturday quelled a protest “walk” organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force at a number of places here.

In a dramatic show of force, the police fired teargas and targeted water cannon at several hundred ethnic Indians, who assembled for a “roses campaign” demanding justice while offering flowers as a gesture to the authorities.

Following an overnight ban on this “campaign,” Hindraf abandoned its original plan of staging a short “walk” towards the Parliament House, with children in the vanguard and carrying roses for Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

Vwaishhnnavi, five-year-old daughter of the self-exiled Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy, was designated to lead the “walk” and greet the Prime Minister. Under guidance, she had earlier written a letter requesting him to accept such an offer.

In the final act on this day of “state power,” Hindraf followers raised an hour-long chorus of slogans about “people power” at a Vinayaka temple in the heart of the city, even as a lone woman walked up to a riot-control officer there and handed him a yellow rose. Another police officer was seen declining a similar offer even as Hindraf supporters began cheering her. The standoff near the shrine passed off without the police using water cannon that was on stand-by.

Hindraf urges ethnic Indians to vote against Badawi’s political grouping
P. S. Suryanarayana

Police cite “security concerns” for banning protest rally

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Coordinator of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), Thanenthiran Ramankutty, on Saturday asked the ethnic Indians in Malaysia to vote against the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, that had “failed” and “insulted” them.
A mid-term general election is due on March 8; and Saturday’s police-aborted campaign was a sequel to Hindraf’s mass protest rally here last November against a half-century of “marginalisation” of the people of Indian origin since independence.

Mr. Thanenthiran, who made a surprise appearance at a temple in the heart of the city where the ethnic Indians had gathered for a protest, later told The Hindu that he was now “on the run” under police surveillance.
He said almost all of Hindraf’s provincial coordinators and national leader such as Manickavasagam and Jayathas were among 300 activists and supporters arrested on Saturday.
Five top Hindraf leaders are already under detention without trial under the Internal Security Act.

The Malaysian police on Friday banned the “roses campaign” by describing as “a security concern” Hindraf’s original plan to deploy nearly 200 children as the star contingent of a “walk” to Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
These children, it was said, were being put in harm’s way in a game of testing the political will of the authorities to maintain law and order.
Another reason cited was Malaysia’s political “norm” of not allowing street protest of any kind, be it by the majority Malay-Muslims or ethnic Chinese or the people of Indian origin.

It was also stated that Hindraf, being a non-registered organisation, was not entitled to any permission for public events, more so of the protest kind.
The police-aborted “walk” to the Parliament House was planned to “test” Mr. Badawi’s attitude towards his ethnic Indian compatriots, according to Hindraf sources.

Yellow roses were selected by Hindraf to be presented to the authorities to convey its demand for a “fair deal” for the ethnic Indians. Red roses signified the colour of choice for “goodwill” towards the Prime Minister, and these were to have been carried by the children. Following the ban, Hindraf, according to its events coordinator Kannan Ramasamy decided against deploying children.

The first scene of street-side political action on Saturday was near the Parliament House. Hindraf said police chased away nearly 200 adult protesters who attempted to break the series of barricades along the routes to Parliament House.
Hindraf supporters raised aloft posters demanding the abolition of the Internal Security Act and the release of the group’s top leaders — P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganapati Rao, M. Manoharan, R. Kengadharan, and T. Vasanthakumar.
“People power [Makkal Sakthi]” slogans and chants in celebration of Hindraf rent the air throughout the standoff.