Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hindraf Hunger Strike at KLCC on 10th Aug 2008

Kuala Lumpur : 10 Aug 2008, KLCC

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi came back to KLCC, a significant location where the 25-11 peace rally took place. This time they gather is a smaller dedicated group but with higher spirit.
About 50 supporters took part in hunger strike for the immediate release of all Hindraf leaders from draconian ISA and safe return of their Chairman, Mr Waythamoorthy from UK.

The group started to swell at KLCC Suria at Ampang Enterance from 9 am. The police personnel and light force personnel were there from early morning as early as 7 am.
As usual the police came to dispease the crowd telling it is illegal to gather there.

Mr Sambu and Mr Jayathas both from Hindraf central cordinators teamwhom lead the group did negotiate with both the police personal and KLCC security staff.

They said they are here for peace hunger protest and expects the police do not disturb the peace gathering there.
The KLCC security made a stell boundry to not allowing the group to seat or walk near the enterance. The group were not allowed to carry any placard or make any slogan.

Hindraf whom known for their Ahimsha (non violence) way kept the spirit high. They had the hunger strike without any unwanted incident.

The group seat near the enterence and had peace hunger strike from morning 8 am till 5 pm.
There were many passby people whom stop to enquire what is the gathering for and some local immediately understand seeing the HINDRAF tshirts. They wave hands and some even said Long live Hindraf to support the Hindraf struggles.The police and media were there watching briefly and taking photos on the overall event.

Good support and nationwide activities

"The group of supporters whom took part in hunger strike were consider good turn up despite there are many events took part on the same day nationwide", said Hindraf National Event Coordinator, Mr Kannan. He added that there are many temples conducting special prayers, offering Thanner Panthal ( drink stall) inline with the Aadi month prayers nationwide and in Ipoh there were Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Blood Donation campaign at the same time. He said they are only expecting a small group for the hunger strike for the beginning and soon the event will be held in several location nationwide soon.

The hunger strike was a successful one as significant participant took part and stayed all the whole day near the KLCC enterance in a peaceful way despite high presence of police personnel. They ended the hunger strike with Thiryabagam Mantra reading, Long Live Hindraf slogan and a short end speeach by Mr Jayathas whom stress that Hindraf urge the UMNO lead government to immdiate release of all Hindraf leaders from ISA as the governement failed to prove any charge against the leaders.
The group break fast about 5.15 pm with a soya drink and dates. They disprease in peace after the event.


Disruption of 'conversion' forum a black mark

The government's reluctance to champion open discussions on crucial interfaith issues is a step backwards in nation-building efforts, said supporters of a recent forum held to discuss issues pertaining to conversion to Islam.

"Government leaders have continuously prided themselves of having achieved racial and religious harmony in the country," said Charles Santiago, member of Parliament for Klang.
"It was their favourite slogan during the 50 years of independence celebrations… but the inability to hold dialogues about religious issues to find durable solutions only shows that the nation is split along racial and religious lines," he added in a statement.
The DAP parliamentarian was referring to last Saturday's unruly disruption of an open forum entitled 'Conversion to Islam', organised by the Bar Council.

About 300 angry protesters, mostly from Muslim-based parties within the ruling coalition as well as from the opposition, had gathered outside the Bar Council headquarters, where the discussion was held.
They demanded that the event be cancelled on the grounds it could be used as a platform to offend and provoke Muslim sensitivities about their religion.

Don't take unity for granted
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who had advised against holding the meeting, warned Malaysians not to take their unity for granted.
"I said don't do it openly. If one still proceeds to do so, it will certainly cause strong reactions," he was reported as saying in the local media.
"We live in a multicultural society in which people of different backgrounds are able to co-exist peacefully. This is because we have been tolerant and respectful of the sensitivities of different races."
Yet, even within the ruling BN coalition, non-Muslim members are chaffing for greater openness and dialogue. Apart from fostering understanding among the various ethnic groups, they see it as the best way forward in resolving hard issues of law.
"They seem to have ignored the fact that the Bar Council has already clarified that the forum was to address the conflicts of law," MIC Youth coordinator T Mohan said in a statement.
"They should have come out with their proposals in addressing the issue of non-Muslim husbands who abandon their spouses and their families and convert into Islam rather than to stop a legitimate forum," he added.
"Many who had converted were also in a dilemma as they were unable to revert to their former religion."

Religious dilemma
Controversial cases involving the rights of Muslim converts and their families have surfaced in recent years, creating racial discord and even street protests.
Former Penang chief minister and Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon urged the government to convene a meeting of civil law and Syariah law practititioners.
He suggested a joint committee to look into issues related to marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims, conversion to Islam, custody of children and burial rituals.

"Such issues and procedures, if left unresolved without good mutual understanding, will continue to haunt the multi-religious society of Malaysia. There will be controversy and even conflicts over family matters related to religious conversion," Koh said.
"We should be aware of sensitivities about religions by all respective believers. Therefore, all politicians must take a rational and reasonable approach to look at how to fine-tune the relevant laws and procedures to avoid or minimise potential inter-religious controversies and conflicts," he added.

Double standards
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy accused the authorities of practising double-standards.
"You have over 300 protesters behaving aggressively, carrying inciting banners and storming into the Bar Council forum raising uncalled for racial sentiments against fellow non-Malay Malaysians without fear and protected by the Royal Police Force," he said.
The Hindraf chief also accused the ruling coalition of using religion to further its political agenda and popularity."There is no actual racial issue in Malaysia, it is only incited and seeded into the public to create a scenario that best serves an authoritarian state to serve its own agenda against the goodwill and humanity for the Malaysian society that have co-existed irrespective of their colour, race, religion and creed," said Waythamoorthy

Human Rights Forum Highlights Hindu Minority Plight

Special to India-West
source ; http://hindrafinternational.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/human-rights-forum-highlights-hindu-minority-plight/

MILPITAS, Calif. — Three activists drew horrific pictures of the predicament of Hindu minorities, sometimes backed by poignant video presentations, in far-flung parts of the world at the Hindu Human Rights Forum hosted at the Vaishnav Mandir here July 20. Hosted by the Hindu American Foundation, speakers talked about the plight of Hindus in Kashmir, Malaysia and Fiji.
HAF also presented its recently released fourth annual human rights report, "Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora." The plight of evicted Kashmiri Pandits, and Hindus in Fiji and Malaysia was highlighted by impassioned presentations by Jeevan Zutshi, a Bay Area community activist and Kashmiri Pandit himself; southern California-based engineer and Malaysian Tamil human rights activist Bhuvan Govindasamy; and San Francisco Bay Area-based attorney of Fiji Indian descent Sadhana D. Narayan.The statistics are staggering: An estimated 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits have been hounded out of their homeland in the Kashmir valley; and Malaysia's egregious discriminatory policies have resulted in a drop of Indian-descent student enrollment in Malaysian universities from 20 percent in 1957 to just five percent in 2003.
In Fiji, harassment and discrimination has led to an exodus of Fiji Indians: From around half the population in the 1970s, the Fiji Indian population has dropped to 38 percent in 2004.
To be sure, only in Kashmir can it be argued that Pandits have been targeted because of their religion.
In Malaysia and Fiji, Hindus have been part of a broader, xenophobic attack against immigrants. Malaysia's decades-long troubled race relations led to Singapore leaving the Malay federation and a Chinese guerilla insurgency, while in Fiji, the plight of Hindus has been driven by the schism between indigenous Fijians and Indians who immigrated in the 19th century, a point made by Narayan. "The civil rights issues in Fiji do not boil down to a Hindu-Muslim type of conflict," she said. "The Hindus and the Muslims in Fiji live in peace, and live in harmony. "The conflicts that we have as Hindus in Fiji relates more to the fact that ethnic Indians, primarily Hindu, have been discriminated against in the last 10-20 years or so as a result of the ethnic Fijians and their actions. . . If anything, the Muslim community has suffered with us." Zutshi's presentation was augmented by the screening of a documentary film on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits by Ashok Pandit, which presented poignant images of destitute Pandits in refugee camps and distraught women talking about the murder of their husbands by Islamists.
Zutshi refused to recognize the anti-Indian movement in Kashmir as the freedom movement that its supporters claim it is. He said it was an Islamist insurgency fueled by Pakistan. "The Islamic colonization of Kashmir has been supported by Islamic terrorists and fundamentalists who committed crimes of genocide against the community of Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir. . . (including) targeted attacks on Sikh community," he said.He was scathing in his condemnation of the Indian government's role. "Unfortunately, Indian leaders have been romancing with the Islamists, anti-Hindus and anti Indians," he said. "So much so that the self-confessed killers and anti-nationalists, they have been wandering scot-free in the streets of Kashmir. . . The government of India has established two standards of justice. One for Indians, one for Kashmiri Muslims."
The U.S. role had been equally egregious, Zutshi said. "The (George W.) Bush administration has been cozying up to the Taliban regime in the same way . . . (as) the earlier administration of President (Bill) Clinton.," he said. "Thousands of Kashmiris Hindus have been murdered . . . Hindus are suffering, and the government is silent."He said the recent violent protests in the Kashmir valley against leasing of forest land to the Amarnath temple was a "sad and painful portrayal of the exclusivist and illogical mindset that rules the roost in Kashmir." "The government's approach towards this issue is reflective of its subjugation to the Islamic diktats which . . . cannot be accepted," he said. Govindasamy painted a grim picture of the plight of Hindus in Malaysia. "From 1957 what was a trickle of removal of rights became, under the rule of Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, a torrent, a waterfall," he said."What was a trickle of temple demolitions about 25 years ago, has now grown, and till now, 15,000 Hindu temples have been demolished."They have taken away our economic rights, they have deprived us in education," he said. "They cannot even leave our religion to us." Five Indian leaders have been unlawfully incarcerated, he added. In 50 years, the Malaysian government has turned the Malaysian Indian society into the underclass, Govindasamy charged. "Hindus are an endangered species in Malaysia," he said. "If this goes on for the next five to 10 years, there will be no more Hindus. All will either have left, or will have forcibly converted to Islam." Although Fiji Indians had gone through a difficult time, there was a glimmer of hope, Narayan said. Ironically, following a coup in 2006, things are looking up. Narayan made it clear that although she applauded the positive developments, she in no way endorsed the military coup. "Currently, we are in the process of trying to have another constitution put in place which essentially would go back to the original constitution . . . which would allow race neutral policies," she said.
A rise in indigenous nationalist fervor and four coups in 20 years, including the toppling of democratically elected Fiji Indian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, had exacerbated the plight of Fiji Indians, Narayan told the audience. "We were put in a position where all of a sudden we were interlopers and we did not belong," she said."Fiji Indians were . . . essentially told to leave," Narayan said. Temples have been attacked repeatedly, she said. "The second thing they did was to make people homeless. . . Individuals who had lived on the same land for three generations were forced to leave their lands and tear down their homes and go away. Now where would they go?," she asked."So we have squatter camps that have developed around Fiji." There are now huge squatter camps in the Fiji cities of Suva and Ba, and Amnesty International estimates that 12 percent of Fiji Indians live in squatter camps. The worst part was a lack of security, Narayan said. "In Fiji if you are Fiji Indian and a Fijian came and robbed your home, nobody would come," she complained. "Nobody would come to assist you. . . If you have no personal safety or security in your own home, you start feeling very frightened." Consequently, Fiji Indians left the country in droves, and now Fiji faces an economic crisis.Former Fiji Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, who is now Fiji's finance minister, has told Narayan that the nation is bankrupt."The exclusionary policy of the last 20 years of keeping out Indians, making them feel not wanted, has eventually helped to destroy the economy of Fiji," she said. "And he was asking Indians to come home."The government is promising lease restoration of land and possible government payment. "Understandably, a lot of Fiji Indians are not interested in coming back," Narayan said. The government is promising 30-year leases on land with automatic 20-year renewals. "It's a situation where the government may end up having to rebuild the homes of the Fiji Indians and that's something that we are hopeful will end up happening," Narayan said.

Malaysian teacher transferred for racial slur

source ; http://www.kyrgyzstannews.net/story/391665
also in http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Indians_Abroad/Malaysian_teacher_transferred_for_racial_slur/articleshow/3343526.cms

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian school teacher who admitted to using racial slur against ethnic Indian Malaysian students has been transferred despite offering an apology, the media reported on Friday.
Selangor State education department director Ashah Samah said on Thursday that other schools may have reservations about accepting "a problematic teacher". The 35-year-old woman teacher, against whom two ethnic Indian Malaysian students complained, has not been named, The Star newspaper said on Friday

The official said the teacher would, on transfer, undergo counselling. Samah added that she would personally counsel the teacher as she felt that her actions were against the principles and duties of a teacher. "This should not be a case of taking revenge but to reform and to make her understand such racial sentiments were not acceptable," the official said. "If she repeats it, then more severe action will be taken against her. We will watch her closely and may even place another teacher to sit in the class with her." The hurt students' parents and the Indian community of Banting in Selangor state are not satisfied with the teacher's apology.
The Coalition of Indian Non-Governmental Organisations secretary George Gunaraj said that transferring the teacher was not the solution. "Moving her elsewhere is even worse as she can start the verbal abuse all over again in a different environment. She needs to undergo counselling to control her emotions. If she is unable to control her emotions, how can she teach?" he asked. Another solution would be to place her on a desk job.
Media reports on Friday carried some details of what happened. In an incident last month, the teacher allegedly entered a Form Five Class and called the students using a derogatory word. She also accused them of being gangsters and thieves. She was also alleged to have ordered the boys to do push-ups. When some of them could not do so, she allegedly stomped on their backs. The second incident happened five days later in a Form Four class where she taught history.
She allegedly told the students that she "wanted to test their level of patience" and began abusing them. She even wrote the words on the blackboard.
Two students lodged police reports against the teacher. On Monday, about 500 parents and members of the public gathered to protest in front of the school.
Malaysians of Indian origin, who migrated to Malaysia during the British era, form eight percent of the country's 28 million population.