Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hindraf wants two-year ban lifted

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today,

GEORGE TOWN: The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) wants the federal government to lift the nearly two-year ban on the human rights movement. In an open online letter posted today, UK-based Hindraf supremo P Waytha Moorthy said it was time the ban be lifted to allow the movement to address pressing issues pertaining to the marginalised Indian community in the country.

He alleged that the Indians have been subjected to state-sponsored discriminative policies for more than half a century.

He urged Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to repeal the ban to pave the way for the registration of Hindraf, which was outlawed on Oct 15, 2008.

“Once registered, Hindraf can pursue its struggle lawfully,” said Waytha Moorthy, who left the country during the government crackdown on the movement in the aftermath of a mammoth rally on Nov 25, 2007.

Waytha Moorthy’s Malaysian passport was also revoked by then Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar.

Since then, Waytha Moorthy has been living in London under British political asylum.

He said the ban was ineffective as it did not stop Hindraf from carrying out its social responsibilities and domestic and international campaigns for betterment of the Indian community.

He said that Hindraf was a consistent movement championing and protecting human rights of the community.

Arbitrary power
Waytha Moorthy, a UK-trained lawyer, criticised Syed Hamid for wielding his arbitrary power vested in the ministry under the archaic and draconian Societies Act 1966.

He said although Hindraf had attracted 70% of the poverty-stricken Indians to its cause in a peaceful manner, Syed Hamid had abused his vested power by silencing the movement.

Nonetheless, he claimed that all efforts carried out by the home ministry to curb the movement have been futile.

“Hindraf has grown over the years as witnessed in its recent inaugural national convention,” he said.

Some 1,000 delegates from across the country attended the convention held on Aug 8.

Following two years of international lobbying, Waytha Moorthy said Hindraf was now a recognised human rights movement.

He said the government must accept reality and formally engage with Hindraf to address human rights violations suffered by ethnic Indians.