In this day and age it is hard to imagine a natural born child being denied a birth certificate and citizenship of a country of his/her birth. But that is exactly what happens to a Hindu child born in Malaysia. The State refuses to issue the birth certificate and keeps on finding useless and flimsy excuses. The child grows up to school age, and school refuses admission because the child does not have the birth certificate. Muslim children do not face this problem.
I was aware of some discrimination against Hindus in Malaysia who form about 7% of the population. I did not know about the wanton nature of this discrimination until I attended a lecture – presentation by Waytha Moorthy at the Global Mall in Atlanta, Georgia on the evening of 1st April, 2011, thanks to the India Awareness Foundation. My wife and I, along with everyone else in the audience were appalled with what we saw and heard that evening. How can a nation deny fundamental human rights to its own natural born citizens based on religion, and harass, physically abuse, imprison and torture them if they try to assemble peacefully and legally for a legitimate cause? On what basis does the government of Malaysia justify demolition of old Hindu temples which have been there for centuries? On what basis does it deny Hindus their right to worship and build temples?
Obviously the government of Malaysia is engaged in the practice of religious discrimination and criminal oppression of Hindu minorities.
In my view the Prime Minister and the King of Malaysia must be tried for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court in The Hague or any other court of law, if possible. Having been successfully tried and convicted, they will become pariah in the eyes of many nations and will face the risk of possible arrest during their international travel. The publicity created by all this will be a bonus and act as a legitimate pressure on the government of Malaysia to bring about necessary reforms and restore fundamental human rights to its Hindu minorities. If no court of law is available, their crimes must be exposed fully so that they face trial in the court of public opinion. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International should take a leading role in this matter.
I admire and condone the efforts of Waytha Moorthy and others who have taken the worthy cause of fighting for their civil rights and the civil rights of fellow citizens who are being discriminated and mistreated by the government authorities. I urge the UNO and its member states to offer all possible help in this matter. I also urge the US government to exercise its political and moral authority to bring the necessary pressure to bear on the government of Malaysia to ensure long awaited civil right reforms for its minorities.
For my part, I wish Waytha Moorthy et al good luck and give them my best to succeed in this struggle. I also pray God to give Malaysian rulers some wisdom, sense of justice and fairness, and an element of conscience so that they may treat all their citizens equally, without any form of discrimination.
Raj K. Gandhi, MD (Atlanta, Georgia, USA); 16 April 2011