Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Malaysian Indians want support from Diaspora

CHENNAI: Delegates of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) this year may be forced to look into the gross human right violations by the Malaysian government — demolition of temples, burial grounds, Tamil schools and relocation of Indians, to mention a few — as they meet in New Delhi for three days from January 7.

Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), an organisation fighting for the rights of Indian ethnic minorities in Malaysia, plans to distribute copies of its second annual report on the rights violations at the annual conference of the Indian Diaspora and urge the participants to devote a session to discuss the issue.

Though two million people of Indian origin were being treated as “second grade citizens” by the Malaysian government, the issue had never figured in the discussions of the PBD, HINDRAF legal advisor P Uthayakumar told Express.

Uthayakumar, who was in Chennai enroute to New Delhi, accused the PBD of deliberating only on issues relating to business and trade agreements.
He alleged that the ruling racist United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) was denying birth certificates and identity documents to around two million Malaysians of Indian origin with a view to having political control by preventing a section of the population from participating in the political process.

Moreover, in the name of development, traditional settlements of Malaysian Indians were being demolished.
Apart from losing their places of worship, burial grounds and Tamil schools, 70 per cent of Malaysian Indians, who were agriculturists by profession, have now lost their land and livelihood, he claimed, adding that those people had been forced to migrate to urban areas, where they have no proper place to stay, no school to study and no proper job.
“Malaysian Indians are given only low profile jobs like cleaners, bearers, road cleaners, office assistants and sewerage workers and anyone from the ethnic group trying to make it big in business finds his license cancelled with the police helping in demolishing the establishment,” Uthayakumar alleged.

Impelled by a sense of outrage over the prevailing difficulti es, nearly 3,30,000 Malaysian In dians in the age group of 15 to 34 have taken to crime and the suicide rate is the highest, he said.
Most of the Malaysian Indians who put up a fight against the discrimination had been killed or harassed in poli ce custody, he said, adding that an ann ual report highlighting the human rights violations would be submitted to the Minister of Overseas and External Affairs and the Prime Minister’s office.