( Malaysiakini)Two women seen in the eyes of the law as Muslims but who consider themselves as Hindus took part in theTimithi Vizla(annual fire walking ceremony) at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil temple in Parit Buntar last Friday. According to Parit Buntar district Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) chief M Sivakumar, S Banggarma (left), 28, (Muslim name Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah) had carried the milk pot for a kilometre from Muneesuarar temple to the Sri Muthu Mariamman temple praying for a swift solution to her conversion dilemma. Rani @ Jamillah Abdul Kadir, 46, also attended the temple function asking for the same favour. At the religious function, the HRP also went on a signature campaign to highlight the plight of four women trapped in a religious twilight zone. Besides Banggarma and Rani, M Indira Gandhi and Regina Mohd Zaini, are also attempting to seek royal intervention to solve their conversion dilemmas. They have exhausted their legal avenues including the religious departments, courts, registration departments and the police. Their last resort is to appeal for royal intervention from the Sultans of Perak, Johor and the Agong who are heads of Islamic matters in the country. Their contention is that they have the right to freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 11 of the federal constitution. Indira is from Ipoh and Banggarma is from Tanjong Piandang, while Rani is from Malacca and Regina from Johore. According to Perak HRP chief P Ramesh, these four are members of his party, which has collected about 5,000 signatures in support of them. HRP will present the first memorandum of appeal to Sultan Azlan Shah at Istana Kinta in Ipoh on Sunday at 11am. They will then approach the Johor Sultan on the case of Regina, followed by the Agong for Rani as Malacca does not have a sultan. Given away According to HRP national information officer and Hindraf information chief S Jayathas, Rani's parents, due to financial difficulties, had given her away to their Hindu neighbour by the name of Kandasamy. Her Muslim mother Aminnah Ahmadu had married her converted father Abdul Kadir @ Krishnan. When Rani (right) was 16, she married her Hindu husband who was later forced to convert to Islam as Mustapha @ M Muniandy and they have four children - two daughters and two sons. Their eldest daughter, 27, is named as Aishah bt Mustapha Muniandy in her birth certificate but the parents managed to change her name to Vijaya Letchumy A/P M Muniandy in her identity card. However, the other three children, Abdul, 26, Hamzah, 24, and Citra Devi, 16, still carry their Muslim names in their identity cards. According to Jayathas, Rani had made declarations before a commissioner of oaths that she wanted Abdul to be known by his Hindu name as Ganesan and Hamzah as Nagendran, but the registration department has allegedly refused to make the changes. Application turned down As for Banggama's conversion case, on Aug 4 the Penang High Court had turned down her application for a court order that would nullify her conversion to Islam when she was seven. Judicial Commissioner Yaacob Sam had found that Banggama is a Muslim since her parents had converted to Islam in 1983 together with their children and said the civil court has no jurisdiction to hear a case involving conversion to Islam. Banggama is living in Tanjong Piandang with her fisherman husband, S Sockalingam and their two children Kanagaraj, eight, and Hisyanthini, two. Banggama's contention is that she has always been a Hindu and will die one even after the High Court ruled against her. Banggarma claimed that she was unwittingly converted by the state Islamic religious authorities at the age of seven while she was staying in a welfare home in Kepala Batas, Penang. Banggarma's birth certificate revealed that she was born a Hindu on Aug 13, 1982, in Keratong, Pahang, to plantation workers B Subramaniam and Latchumy Ramadu. She has practised Hinduism even though her identity card stipulated she is a Muslim. Meanwhile Regina's father Mohd Zaini @ Krishnan, who had earlier married a Malay woman, had taken her Hindu mother as a second wife and they have three children - two daughters and a son. The elder daughter was able to convert to Hinduism but not Regina and her younger brother who are still classified as Muslims. The father died when Regina was four years old and her mother died about five years ago.
Regina had married a Hindu and her problem started when her son Thinas was born and she was unable to register his birth with the registration department.
As for Indira, she had obtained an Ipoh High Court order on March 11, for the custody of her third child Prasana Diksa but is unable to enforce the ruling on her converted husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah @ K Pathmanathan who is hiding in Kelantan with the child.
On July 31, Indira had lodged a police report against her husband for criminal intimidation over using abusive words against her during a phone conversation on July 29 and for refusing to surrender the child to her according to the court order of March 11.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.