Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hindraf blames cops for failed march

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had blamed the police force for the failure of yesterday's 'People's March in Solidarity Against Umno's Racism'.
"The marcNONEh was unsuccessful because we were arrested (on the spot) by the police force, and we were outnumbered," Hindraf coordinator W Sambulingam (left in photo) said in response to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's comment last night.
Human Rights Party (HRP) chief P Uthayakumar (right in photo) said it was impossible to proceed with the peaceful march, considering that the police had rejected their application for a police permit.

On Feb 11, Hindraf had submitted an application to Inspector-General Police Ismail Omar for a permit to hold the peaceful march, but it was rejected by Dang Wangi police on Feb 24.

It does not make sense to say the peaceful march was a failure, Uthayakumar told a press conference, since police had also stopped and given a stern warning to those intending to support the march.

"None of this (the arrests) would have happened if they approved our application. All we asked for was a permit to march peacefully, to show what we are upset and to present our demands... ," Sambulingam said, adding that there was no bad intention behind the gathering.

Supporters released

All Hindraf supporters who were arrested attempt were freed in stages yesterday, except for 14 supporters who showed up for a candlelight vigil outside the Jinjang police station last night.

"They were released about 3pm today, including 17-year-old Virasanth Visvanathan, who had been held at the Sungei Besi station," Uthayakumar said.

Yesterday, some 200 Hindraf supporters made their way to the Jinjang police station, demanding the release of their leaders.

At 8am yesterday, Uthayakumar was intercepted and arrested by four plainclothes police officers as he left his apartment in Pantai Hillpark, Kuala Lumpur.

rally proceeds to Pudu IPKAsked to comment on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's statement that "Hindraf wanted the police to use force on them", Uthayakumar denied the accusation, insisting that the Hindraf march was to have been held peacefully.

Uthayakumar also said the movement is willing to meet the prime minister whenever it suits him.

"We will kuburkan (disband) Hindraf, provided the prime minister obliges our 18-point demand. We are giving Umno a tip for on how to kuburkan Hindraf... just answer our demands on what has been done, what is being done and what will be done for the Indian community," he added.
18-point demand
On July 28, 2007, Hindraf had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, making an 18-point demand for the Indian community.
Among the demands are that:
  • The Umno-controlled government should set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 'Kg Medan mini genocide', condemn the violence, apologise to the Indian community for this, undertake not to repeat the same in future and pay compensation of RM1 million for every citizen killed, permanently maimed, maimed or injured in this tragedy.
  • All forms of racial and religious discrimination, oppression and suppression of the Indians/Hindus in both the public and private sectors should be stopped with immediate effect; a Race Relations Commission Act, an Equal Opportunities Commission Act and a Freedom of Religions Commission Act be enacted; powerful commissions be created to give effect to anti-racism, anti-Islamic extremism and anti-direct discrimination practices by the Umno-controlled government, in both the public and private sectors.
  • A minimum of 20 opposition members of parliament be elected exclusively by the Indian community to represent their interests at the highest political level and also as a parliamentary democracy check-and-balance; this should be safeguarded and entrenched into the federal constitution, and increased proportionately with the increase in parliamentary seats.
As for now, the movement will not hold any form of demonstration.

Asked if Hindraf had a time frame for an answer from Najib, Uthayakumar replied: "We will wait and see, as we have been waiting for the past three years for a change.
"But, Umno must stop all their wayang kulit and take this seriously, as we do not like to demonstrate for no reason. No one likes to do so."