I have just returned from the Hindraf ANTI-ISA Candle Light Vigil . It was a great feeling to speak in unison with the mass of people gathered there to let our voices be heard, loud and clear. The event began with the Hindraf group numbering several hundreds walking from the Jamek Masjid LRT station to the Dataran at about 7.15 pm or so. They gathered at the entrance to the Dataran Merdeka on the Jalan Tun Perak entrance and were blocked off by Police cordon. Negotiations did not help for the group to gather on Dataran Merdeka. The Vigil group on Tun Perak kept swelling by the minute and soon there was probably over one thousand protestors gathered - chanting "MANSUHKAN ISA, BEBASKAN PEGUAM KITA, HINDRAF VALGA" with a thousand candles high above their heads. What a beautiful sight. The chants continued louder and louder. The Hindraf group was surprisingly now joined by ' I would say about several Hundred Anti ISA Chinese supporters all with candles. I am not sure which NGO they belonged to, if they did. Seeing the Dataran blocked, and the police unrelenting and the crowd swelling, Hindraf leaders decided to take the Vigil group on a march to the Kortu Malai Pillayar Temple on Pudu. This was a wonderful move. What would have been a short stand at Dataran turned into a high visibility and extended peace march for the full view of the nation. The crowd in various sections independently chanting"MANSUHKAN ISA, BEBASKAN PEGUAM KITA, HINDRAF VALGA. Then there were many Malay Citizens who were spotted in the march.I could not guess at a number. I was offered a candle by a Chinese participant when my candle nearly finished, who said, brother, here take this, do not burn your fingers.This was a multiracial march. A multi-racial -march led by Hindraf. The truth always has a way of expressing itself. "Valga Truth." The group marched very peacefully along Jalan Tun Perak. Such marches are always peaceful, unless there are agent provocateurs or the police take a high handed approach.Sometimes I wonder what the need was for all the FRUs and the water cannons and tear gases and the arrests, in the last one year or so. - what for, why Dato Syed Albar? Allow the people to speak, hear them out, act on their requests and the country runs very well, the people are wise, just listen to the people with some humility. It was an exhilarating feeling - though fleeting, to feel the strength of the people in this united expression. The marching group, which I estimate about 3,000 now reached the temple junction after about the one kilometer march - chanting in unison all the way "MANSUHKAN ISA, BEBASKAN PEGUAM KITA, HINDRAF VALGA."The group slowly ascended the little hill to the Kortu Malai Pillayar Temple. There prayers were offered by a group while the rest just filled up the road up the hill entirely and kept up with their chants. Agal Vilakku's were lit and offerred around. Banners were raised, Hindraf Anthem 'Tholvi' was sung and speeches were made. Then around 9.45 pm or so the march and the candle light vigil ended. What a wonderful night! The message was abundantly clear - the people are increasingly tiring of the arrogant and deaf ways of the UMNO led BN government. The people are not cowed down so much by the government.s bullying tactics of sending in the police and their Special Branch, using the draconian ISA law , so they can keep the real issues of the people swept under the carpet. The people are clamouring for a more open, transparent, fair and just system and are now more willing to show it. Note the fact that Chinese Malaysian citizens who typically shy away from such events are beginning to show up. Note also the multiracial character of the group - this is a historical development. People are willing to show their feelings together - not afraid of harassments, not afraid of arrests, not afraid of being associated with or led by groups portrayed by the media of the BN regime to be radical. The other significant fact to note is how Hindraf continues to lead the change movement in our country. As I keep saying Hindraf is the Vanguard for change in our country. It has and continues to navigate through many, many obstacles to do this. The fact that Hindraf can do this despite the major obstacles it faces, is testimony to the objectives of Hindraf - NATIONAL POLICY CHANGE - to bring about national change for a more just , democratic, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia. for all Malaysians, though expressed in the context of the Marginalisation of the Indians. It is therefore in the interst of the nation that the BN regime hear this loud expression and immediately release all the ISA detainees. Continuing to hold them unlawfully, will be acting in total disregard of the wishes of the people which resounded so loudly yesterday . and a continuation of national policy whose time has come.
ABOLISH THE ISA AND RELEASE ALL THE DETAINEES IMMEDIATELY!!! BN WAKE UP!!!!
We have made our point ! We have made it very loud and clear !!! Abolish ISA , Release Hindraf heroes , RPK and the rest immediately !!! We came with candles in our hands and love in our hearts . We kept to our words that this will be a Ahimsa vigil and it was indeed. Malay, Indian, Chinese and our brothers from east Malaysia all stood along together and sent a clear message that Hindraf is not a terrorist organization as claimed by UMNO led Barisan Nasional government but rather was a representation of the citizens of Malaysia who ‘Believe In God’ and practicing ‘Loyalty To The King And Country’, who always believed in ‘Upholding The Constitution’ and respect the ‘Rule Of Law’ which eventually results in ‘Good Behaviour and Morality’.
Dear Prime Minister sir, there is no truth in your government’s claim that Mr.P.Uthayakumar has led a movement that links with any terrorist group. There is no base in your accusation that Hindraf chairman Mr.P.Waythamoorthy and the rest were threat to our beloved motherland Malaysia . Please drop all those accusations and free the Hindraf heroes from what you have once said , “draconian and barbaric” ISA detention Immediately. Until and unless the Hindraf lawyers are freed , we have no any other choice but will be pushed to carry out various unique protests . The choice is actually yours Mr .Prime Minister sir. I t will not be appropriate if I never thank the police brothers for once allowing us to exercise article 10 of the federal constitution .Thank you for being very understanding despite not allowing us to hold our vigil at Dataran Merdeka. Last but not least , Hindraf is proud and thankful to the 5000 over supporters of all walks of life and all races who gathered and supported this peaceful candle vigil. YBs , NGO members ,bloggers and Press friends , your presence was very meaningful to us. We seek your continuous support in the event, the struggle to Abolish ISA and free the ISA detainees need to be carried on. Vaazhge Hindraf , Abolish ISA !!
Sambulingam Wisvalingam National Hindraf Coordination Team. 28th Sept. 2008
BA letter to the Hindraf wives - Dr M Kalaivani and B Buvaneswary.y by G. Kanchana (28/09/08)
I refer to the recent statements made by Dr M Kalaivani and B Buvaneswary, the wives of K Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau, which appeared in Malaysiakini on 26/09/08 and Tamil Nesan and Makkal Osai on 27/09/08 at front page, who said the struggle of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is different now compared to when it started under the leadership of the five who are currently under ISA detention, and that they were not comfortable with the direction in which the movement has taken.
The above statement comes from one who self admittedly says she was never involved in the Hindraf struggle. It also comes from the Hindraf wife who was the least seen to have participated in events organised by Hindraf after Nov 25th but sadly and suddenly decides to make an appearance and now comments on the direction Hindraf has taken.
Dr K further states that aside from the goal of obtaining the release of the Hindraf leaders, the utmost importance is that the Indian community's problems are alleviated and that both these goals can be affected without rallies planned by those now coordinating Hindraf activities. That on the contrary, the rallies may actually serve to harm the chances of the five's release.
Since you clearly state that you were never involved with Hindraf, It is not expected of you to be acquainted with, or understand the Hindraf struggle, its aspirations, its demands, its plans or the enormous works done and still carrying on to “alleviate” the problems faced by Indians. Your ignorance of Hindraf’s history, the ensuing rally that changed Malaysia and the loads of work being carried out in the name of justice, fairness and equality for the Indians forbids you from issuing any statement or opinion on the directions of Hindraf. These are reserved exclusively for those who have involved or participated either directly or indirectly in the struggle to obtain the 18 point demands which are so basic yet crucial and essential to the deprived Indians. “You have to be in it, to know it,…more so to comment on or criticise it”.
OR, are these comments specifically targeted to show your disapproval of the current leadership or those coordinating Hindraf activities. If goals can be affected without rallies and those behind these rallies are dubious then why were the respected Mr Kenghadharan and Mr Ganabatirau amongst those who initiated the Nov 25th Hindraf rally. Yet, you show your support of the Nov 25th rally under the leadership of the five Hindraf lawyers who are currently under ISA and one in exile. Dr K and Mrs G, if you disapprove of rallies you should disapprove of all rallies and not just those NOT organised by your husbands. As for Mrs G who contends that the rallies organised after the detention of the Hindraf five had deviated into becoming 'anti-government' rallies, well the Nov 25th 2007 rally was equally described as the mother of all rallies and equally ‘anti-government’ of which your husband Mr Ganabatirau was very much part of and paying a price for now. It is hypocritical of him (or yourself ) to now call for an end to such rallies, when he was amongst those who introduced to the entire nation how to take our plight to the streets. The 10,000 odd people who gathered at the candle light vigil/march on Sat 27/09/08 (yesterday) to show solidarity against ISA and infact the entire nation who supports the abolishment of ISA would not at all appreciate your new found criticism. It is a fact that in any civil society that practices true democracy, rallies are a norm and infact a healthy way for society to voice or show their grievances as opposed to suppression and oppression . It is quite often the case here that the police would assist such rallies and those in governance would take heed of such grievances. Article 10 of the Federal Constitution states clearly our rights to demonstrate peacefully.
As to the learned Dr K’s view’s on Hindraf’s plan to gather 10,000 people at PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Hari Raya open house, as ‘intimidation’ it is suggested she reads thoroughly the detailed explanation by Hindraf’s Chairman Mr P Waytha Moorthy (currently in London) in his article entitled “Are you prepared to be part of the neo passive democratisation, Revolution ” . This you can find in the website www.hindraf.org which serves to be very informative to those who have no understanding of Hindraf’s struggles. In this article Mr Waytha Moorthy clearly explains the rationale and basis of the visit to the Prime Minister which is far from Dr K’ s view of intimidation.
On whether or not Dr K support’s her husband or Hindraf the decision is entirely hers however the support or rather the lack of it, of someone remote to the movement is not detrimental to it. The support comes in the form of a burning desire nestled deep in the hearts of many who want to bring about changes. That alone is enough.
Curiosity begs the question on what other ways Dr K proposes to help the Indian community that has not already been attempted by Hindraf. It would be interesting to know how the Dr would deal with religious extremism by some who invade, disregard and intrude into the beliefs of others, or a solution to racist policies and discrimination that trample on the very basic rights of many especially Indians , or resolve the scores of injustices, unfairness and inequality that takes place day after day in areas of education, civil services, opportunities etc. Pray do let us know if you are able to come up with other definite ways of resolving these issues. Let us know how you would persuade an otherwise ignorant and arrogant government into acknowledging and “alleviate” the current plight of the Indians. Please be reminded that in your approach to the above, the Indians will no longer take peanuts but only settle for nothing less than wholesome permanent solutions which they believe are within their very basic rights as citizens of this country.
Why are Samy Vellu’s efforts so appreciated ? Why so much gratitude to the person many see as “the cause behind Indian struggle today” and the person who at times openly justified ISA detention alongside the PM and who has many unanswered questions hanging over his head. Why should no individual question the integrity of any such leaders or individuals from any party or question why they are asking for the release of the Hindraf leaders but the same integrity is questioned of the Hindraf coordinators and supporters who most sincerely and steadfastly from Dec 13th 2007 (the day of arrest) have pro actively and fearlessly campaigned, spoken without hypocriticism, actively organised nationwide peaceful assemblies, convoy’s and marches, condemned the ISA arrest by way of media statements, press conferences and letters to editors for the release of the Hindraf lawyers and all others detained under the ISA. Why no such similar and specific appreciation or gratitude to Hindraf, it’s coordinators and supporters who have and are genuinely fighting for the release of your husbands.
As for thanking the government for having looked after your husband , I guess you are equally thankful to the government for detaining well respected lawyers (including your husband ) for merely championing the rights of those marginalised and discriminated under the cruel and draconian ISA which was solely meant for the communist and terrorist that attempted to overthrow the government through violent and forceful means. You must be thankful to the government for forcing human rights lawyers to be attired in the same washed out and torn prison clothes day after day where they had been used to suits and ties not long ago, you must be thankful to the government for serving them “bun manis and kopi oh” where they would have preferred to come home to the sweet smells of “sambar and chutney”. Or are you thankful to the government that they are sleeping on 1” foam laid on cement floor in humid surroundings where they otherwise may have laid on original Dunlop mattresses with the air-conditioner on with you of course beside!!!! Come on Dr you must know better!
In your eagerness for the return of your husbands (God bless that they do come home to you soon) there is no need to undermine, tarnish or disrepute the very same movement and principles they stood for, not so long ago.
Vaalga Hindraf! May it persevere and overcome all turbulence and turmoil!!!
Multiracialism in Malaysia VOH ( Voice of Hindraf) - 26 Sept 2008
Teresa Kok released from ISA, Hindraf lawyers still languishing in jail under ISA, (NTV news at 4.30pm 19/09/08). This afternoon Teresa Kok the M.P. for Seputeh and State Executive Councillor for Selangor was released. Hindraf is happy with this release and join millions of Malaysians in welcoming Teresa Kok back to civilian life as a free person again. We applaud proactive Malaysians who fearlessly campaigned and spoke out against her detention. Minister in the Prime Ministers Department and de facto law Minister unprecedently tendered his resignation as a powerful UMNO Minister as a matter of principle as ISA which was originally meant against the communist and terrorist seeking to overthrow the government through violent means and using arms was used against Teresa Kok, Raja Petra and Sin Chiew’s Tan. DAP’s supremo Lim Kit Siang formed a Parliamentary caucus for the release of Teresa. DAP pro-actively organised nationwide peaceful assemblies and marches for Teresa’s release. The PAS, PKR and DAP top leaders condemned Teresa’s arrest by way of media statements and press conferences. PAS Kota Raja Member of Parliament lodged a police report for abuse of powers in ISA for Teresa. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced that foreign lawyers, (Queen’s Counsel) would be brought in to defend Teresa and we would seek an audience with the Sultan of Selangor to complain on Teresa’s arrest.. DAP’s Selangor leader Ronnie Liu, Selangor State Executive Councillor announced that the Selangor State Assembly would be specially convened to pass a motion condemning Teresa’s arrest. Bar Council called for an urgent EGM the very next Saturday. Bulbir Singh, Lt ( R ) P. Nathan, Chelvam Rengasamy, Mohd Ghazali Osman of Ipoh and Teoh Boon Siew of P.J. wrote letters to the editor in the NST, M.Manoharan the MP for Teluk Intan organised a candle light vigil and peaceful assembly in Teluk Intan, Param Cumaraswamy the former U.N.Rappoter with Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer Sankara Nair and other lawyers called for Teresa’s release. All this and scores of other public campaigns in the internet and elsewhere within six days and Teresa was released.
But for poor DAP Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah and Hindraf legal adviser the same was not done. Even the Bar Council did not call for an EGM when four lawyers were detained under the ISA and an ISA warrant out against the fifth lawyer. So much for multiracialism in Malaysia because these five lawyers merely fought for the tiny minority ethnic Indians where the Malaysian Opposition parties, NGO’s and civil society do not get to score much political points by taking and making the same pro active actions as done for Teresa. Welcome to the real world.
In all Justice and Fairness let us treat the Indian issues as a Malaysian issue, let us fearlessly campaign and speak out, let us pro actively organise nationwide peaceful assemblies and marches, let us condemn the ISA arrest by way of media statements and press conferences, let us write letters to the editors, let us call for urgent EGM’s and even seek an audience with the Sultan of Selangor for the release of the Hindraf lawyers and all others detained under the ISA.
Let us do this vigorously and pro actively until they are released.
Mkini - Hindraf Anti-ISA vigil turns into peace march Andrew Ong and Rahmah Ghazali Sep 27, 08 8:05pm
About 2,000 people staged a peaceful march through the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur tonight calling for the abolishment of Internal Security Act and freeing detainees under the Act .
Initially, two separate groups - Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and coalition of NGOs led by the Writer Alliance For Media Independence (Wami) - had initially planned to hold a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka at about 7.30pm. When they came across a police cordon at Dataran Merdeka, the Hindraf-led group numbering about 500 decided to march to the temple opposite the Puduraya bus terminal about 1km away.
The crowd marched unhindered towards their destinations and gradually the crowd swelled to about 2,000 people from all walks of life, with many carrying candles. The other group, which was in a procession holding Chinese lanterns, eventually joined up with the Hindraf group. The police were caught off-guard by the huge turnout. Many media personnel had also remarked that the large crowd was unanticipated as past vigils had been small in number.
‘Tonight, we are the judges’
Shouts of “Mansuhkan ISA (Abolish the ISA)”, “Bebaskan Raja Petra (Free Raja Petra)” and “Hindraf Valga (Long live Hindraf)” were chanted by the marchers. Eventually, the crowd gathered at the temple compound where several individuals addressed the crowd with highly charged speeches.
Hindraf national coordinator R Thanenthiran said that government should heed the protesters' demands to free ISA detainees. “The Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar should listen to us. He alone cannot decide what is best for the country. Tonight, we the people, are the judges,” he said. Later, Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran told the crowd that a large gathering is being planned to commemorate the first anniversary of the ISA arrest of five Hindraf leaders currently held in the Kamunting Detention Camp. “We will keep holding gatherings until all ISA detainees are released,” he said.
Meanwhile, the crowd was peaceful throughout and a festive atmosphere permeates in the air. Several supporters of detained blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin were also at hand to sing ‘Happy Birthday Raja Petra’ as today was his birthday. By 9pm, protest leaders dispersed the crowd. There were no reports of untoward incidents.
Hindraf national coordinator Thanenthiran later told reporters that the march tonight was proof that Malaysians can gather peacefully in order to express themselves. “If the police follows the law, we can do the same,” he said. In a statement immediately after the crowd dispersal, Hindraf leader-in-exile P Waytha Moorthy thanked the police for allowing the march to proceed. “The government should now accept that Malaysians have sent a loud and clear message that the use of the ISA cannot be tolerated,” he said.
Meanwhile, two visually blind participants told Malaysiakini at the scene why they took part in the march.Ramli Abu Bakar, 51, said he has been supporting the anti-ISA movement ever since it was established because “the country has achieved independence and the act is nothing but a mediaeval law”.“We have been independent for 51 years and why would we need such a legislation now?” asked Ramli.Ramli's friend, Kamal Abu Bakar, 48, echoed his views, saying that the government is “stupid for not abolishing ISA as it is no longer relevant”.There were also supporters of Raja Petra who were in high spirits in showing their support to their idol on his birthday. For Sampa Lee, 60, he said releasing Raja Petra and other detainees would be the best birthday gift the government could ever give to them.“It would be the best present for Raja Petra and all Malaysians as we are all against the draconian law,” said Sampa.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.