Friday, April 24, 2009

'Thanenthiran free to form own political party'

Malaysiakini - Athi Veeranggan Apr 23, 09 4:21pm

Hindu Rights Action Force's former national coordinator RS Thanenthiran is free to establish a political party to spearhead the struggle of marginalised Indian Malaysian community, said the movement exiled leader P Waythamoorthy.

However, London-based Waythamoorthy insisted that Hindraf would remain as a apolitical pressure group in the country's political landscape, championing the cause of marginalised Indians and other communities.

He said it was within Thanenthiran's constitutional rights to form the party and others shall not criticise him for his action.

"Thanenthiran's decision must have been based on overwhelming grassroots sentiments," said Waythamoorthy in a press statement today.

He was responding to a news local Tamil daily Makkal Osai which quoted him as saying that Thanenthiran should leave Hindraf if he wanted to form a political party.

Waythamoorthy denied issuing such a statement and insisted that he would not stop any Hindraf leaders from forming a political party to spearhead the Indian political struggle in the country.

"Just because they want to form a political party does not mean they have to withdraw from Hindraf. We will remain as a pressure group fighting for freedom, justice, equality and peace but it will continue to forge close ties with political friends," he said.

"I once again reiterate and stress that I would not be forming any political party nor would I convert Hindraf into a political party. However Hindraf supporters are free to form, join or support any political party they choose," he added.

Malaysiakini quoted Waythamoorthy in a report yesterday in which he said former coordinators and other Hindraf leaders who were interested in forming a political party would be advised to temporarily detach themselves from Hindraf.

"This is to protect Hindraf from allegations that it is converting into a political party. However we will accept them as ‘political friends' within Hindraf," he had added.

Meeting in India

Last week Waythamoorthy announced he was replacing the 10-man coordinating committee with a three-man interim committee to administer the human rights movement.

He then named two opposition parliamentarians as the movement's advisors.

The suspended 10 coordinators were appointed at the end of 2007 after Waythamoorthy left the country to seek international lobby in the face of government arrests.

The movement's public face P Uthayakumar was detained under the Internal Security Act along with four other Hindraf leaders on December of 2007.

Since then Thanenthiran and the other nine coordinators have been keeping the Hindraf movement alive and relevant, including successfully turning the Indian voters to support Pakatan Rakyat candidates in the 2008 general election.

Waythamoorthy's restructuring plan drew heavy criticisms from local Hindraf leaders, many whom felt it was timely for the movement to spearhead its struggle on political platform.

They want to form a political party while maintaining Hindraf as a human rights movement. Both however, will be interlinked.

Waythamoorthy is expected to meet Thanenthiran in India in two weeks time to deliberate and resolve many outstanding issues affecting Hindraf.