Indian national freed from Malaysian jail

April 5th, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Hindraf Kuala Lumpur, April 5 (IANS) An Indian national was released Sunday morning from detention while two leaders of a banned Hindu body were among 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees in Malaysia who are to be freed later in the day.
Sundaraj Vijay, the Indian national who was found with forged travel documents, boarded a vehicle to leave the Kamuntin Detention Centre in Perak state, Star Online said.

He had been in jail for two years under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) along with an estimated 80 people.

V. Ganabatirau and S. Kengadharan, two of the five leaders of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), were also to be released Sunday. They were jailed under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) for staging a protest rally in November 2007.

V. Vuvaneswary, wife of Ganabatirau, who rushed with her daughter to meet her husband, expressed hope that the other three Hindraf leaders - M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar and Vasanth Kumar - would also be released.

In a spirit of solidarity, she said she would continue to interact with the wives of the three detainees.

She said her daughter had not slept the entire night on hearing about the impending release of her father.

Their release was ordered “in a spirit of reconciliation” by Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who was sworn in Friday.

Razak Saturday rejected accusations that the release was a gimmick and maintained that they were “in national interest”.

The move to release ISA detainees was also proof that the Government was not repressive, he added.

“The Government has the best interest of the people at heart,” he said.

When pointed out that some viewed it as a populist move, Najib said: “If we don’t release them, they will say the Government is repressive. If we release them, they will say we are populist.”

“So which is which?” he asked.

Razak has promised a review of the ISA, considered draconian by human rights bodies.

Malaysian Indian Congress secretary-general S. Subramaniam said the release was a good indicator of the government’s sincerity in addressing the problems of the Indian community.

Ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Hindu Tamils, form eight percent of Malaysia’s multi-racial population of 28 million.

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