Thursday, August 12, 2010

'Racism in learning', Hindraf wants India's help

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Hindu Rights Action Force, now known as Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, wants the Indian government to provide an educational lifeline for Malaysian Indian students.

Hindraf, which has constantly accused the Umno-led government of racism, believes that deserving Indian students here are being left in the lurch because of a discriminatory policy.

The movement, which was banned by the government, wants the Indian government to provide them with scholarships instead.

In view of this, Hindraf will submit a memorandum to the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur regarding the matter.

“We want the Indian government to know that our children are denied Public Service Department scholarships and matriculation courses due to a race-based policy,” its national information coordinator S Jayathas told FMT.

“We want Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide full scholarships to bright Malaysian Indian children and provide places for them to study in India,” he added.

Jayathas said the memorandum will be submitted on Sunday, in conjuction with India's independence day, and the commission has been notified of this.

The gathering would take place at 2pm and more than 100 people are expected to attend.

Last Sunday, Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar accused Umno of perpetuating genocide on the Indian community here.

In a hard hitting speech at the movement's national convention, he claimed that the Malay party was attempting to destroy the community's herigate.

“They destroy our temples, cemeteries and schools. They deny scholarships for our children. If this is not ethnic cleansing, what else am I to call it?” he asked.

In November 2007, Uthayakumar and four others led a mammoth protest in Kuala Lumpur, which saw tens of thousands of Malaysian Indians taking to the streets.

The Hindraf rally was credited as being the political awakening of the community, which paved the way for the Indians to vote for the opposition in the 2008 general election.

Shortly after the protest, the five Hindraf leaders were detained under the Internal Security Act and were released in 2009.