Monday, March 2, 2009

'OK for Umno to rally, not Hindraf'
Athi Veeranggan Mar 1, 09 5:03pm

The police action to spray chemical-laced water on Hindu Rights Action Force supporters at the Brickfields police station in Kuala Lumpur yesterday was “brutal and inhumane”, an outraged Hindraf leader said today.

The outlawed Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran accused the police of practicing double standards where "there is one set of laws for illegal and violent Umno demonstrators, and another for those participating in peaceful assemblies and gatherings.""While the police were lenient and even provided protection for Umno illegal demonstrations, including mobsters, they resorted to forceful means to batter others," he said, referring to Umno Youth’s action against prominent opposition parliamentarian Karpal Singh.

Yesterday Hindraf supporters have gone to Brickfields police station to lodge mass reports against the Home Ministry and Kamunting Detention Centre authority for neglecting the health of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar.They claimed that the authorities failed to provide proper medical treatment for Uthayakumar, a diabetic who is suffering from a fractured toe."We went to the police station only to exercise our fundamental rights to lodge police reports on behalf of Uthayakumar. It was not an illegal demonstration or protest,” lamented Thanenthiran.“We cannot understand why the police resorted to violence to stop us. It was a gross violation of our basic human rights."

He accused Brickfields police chief Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid for going back on his words after acceding to ‘a gentleman’s agreement’ to allow Hindraf supporters to lodge reports at the police station.According to Thanenthiran, Wan Abdul Bari had earlier agreed to allow 50 Hindraf supporters to lodge 10 joint police reports in separate groups of five, including family members of Uthayakumar."However, we were caught by surprise when Wan Abdul Bari suddenly gave the order to the supporters to disperse. It was a shock that the police resorted to brutality and inhumane action to disperse and arrest Hindraf supporters," said Thanenthiran, a former teacher.Some had to seek medical attentionThe police sprayed chemical-laced water at about 300 supporters of Uthayakumar, who had been detained under the draconian Internal Security Act since 2007.

Most of the crowd subsequently dispersed save for a few, including Kapar MP S Manikavasagam and Police Watch and Human Rights Committee coordinator S Jayathas.The duo were among 17 individuals arrested, according to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who arrived at the scene later to act as the group’s lawyer.They have all been released since.A few people were injured and suffered from itchiness and breathing difficulties after they were doused with chemical-laced water and they had to seek treatment from the hospital.

Thanenthiran called on Malaysians to vote against Barisan Nasional in next month’s by-elections in Bukit Selambau state seat (Kedah) and Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat (Perak) to register their anger against the police brutality."This is not a racial issue. It’s about human rights. Malaysians must demonstrate their disagreement with the police action and BN’s arrogance in violating human rights," said the Hindraf leader.