Dec 14, 08 3:11pm
Fifteen Hindraf supporters launched a hunger strike on Sunday to demand the abolition of a tough security law which the government says is needed to combat terrorism, organisers said.
"The five-day hunger strike is to protest against the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) and to demand all detainees are freed," S. Jayathas, coordinator of the rights group Hindraf which organised the strike, told AFP.
"The hunger strike is also to demand the government end all injustices in Malaysia and stop discriminating against minority Indians."
The ISA, a relic of the British colonial era when it was used to fight a communist insurgency, allows for renewable two-year periods of detention without trial.
The government says it is a vital tool to fight terrorism, but rights groups say the law has been improperly used to silence government critics, and that detainees are mentally and physically tortured.
Rights groups say 70 people, mainly alleged Islamic militants, are being held under the ISA.
Hunger strikers to only take water
The protesters are staging their hunger strike at a small temple north of Kuala Lumpur.
Some of those taking part are relatives of five Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) leaders, who are being held under the ISA.
The five, one of whom is a state lawmaker, were arrested after enraging the government last November by mounting a mass rally alleging discrimination against Malaysia's minority ethnic Indians.
Ethnic Indians make up less than eight percent of the 27-million-strong population of the mainly Muslim Malay country.
Jayathas said the protesters would only consume water during the strike.
Letter from Jayathas on Hunger Strike
Almighty God!! We humbly bow at your feet.
Today (14th Dec 2008 ) Makkal Sakthi supporters launched a hunger strike until the UMNO regime acts on the plight of all Malaysians to Abolish the draconian ISA law, release all ISA detainees and allow their chairman Mr. P. Waythamoorthy for a save return to his beloved homeland.
Almost 50 Makkal Sakthi supporters gathered at the
Sri Maha Kaliamman Temple at
B1 Kg .Sri Temenggong, Sri Gombak, Selangor
today and commenced the hunger strike after paying homage to the Almighty Goddess Mother Sri Maha Kaliaman.
P.Uthayakumar's sister P.Waythanayagi also join in the hunger strike to Abolish the draconian law ISA. National Coordinator, S.Jayathas said that a copy of the "Makkal Sakthi 18 Points Demand" was surrendered at the feet of Goddess Maha Kaali , seeking Her blessings to make the UMNO led BN government to repeal the ISA and address the 51 yrs of colonialization, discrimination and suppression against the minority Malaysians Indians.
The supporters demanded immediate and unconditional release of the HINDRAF leaders together with the others detained under the ISA.
They urged that KEMTA be shut down and questioned that "When America's president elect Barrack Obama can shut down Guatanamo Bay Centre, why can't the same done to KEMTA by the Malaysian Government.
S. Jayathas further stated that the selective prosecution and double standards in recognizing the right to freedom of assembly, with those opposing government policies targeted for arrest and harsh crackdowns. Recently we celebrated World Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 1 says That all human being are born FREE and EQUAL in dignity and rights, but today in Malaysia this dosent take place instead racial discrimination continues. We the Malaysians want to see the change in our beloved country. Please Support our struggle to Abolish ISA.
Valga Makkal SAKTHI
Valga Uthaya SAKTHI
Makkal Sakthi National Coordinater012 6362287