Elected Hindraf leader now hero for jail mates

March 27th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by admin  


Kuala Lumpur, March 27 (IANS) A Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader in Malaysia who is being held in a detention camp under the Internal Security Act (ISA) has become a celebrity there ever since he won in the Selangor state assembly elections earlier this month. M. Manoharan, a legal adviser to Hindraf, is at the Kamunting detention camp. His wife S. Pushpaneela says his peers in the camp cheered and congratulated him when they saw the general election results via news on TV March 8.

“Several camp warders also patted his back. It was a touching moment for him,” she was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Thursday.

“Many who did not know him well in the camp would come up to him and greet him whenever they saw him,” she said.

Hindraf is an umbrella organisation that claims to speak for Malaysia’s ethnic Indians. Manoharan and four other Hindraf leaders P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, K. Vasantha Kumar and R. Kengadharan are under two-year detention for their role in a protest rally in Kuala Lumpur in November last year.

Manoharan had stood on a Democratic Action Party (DAP) opposition ticket and won the Kota Alam Shah state seat by a 7,184-vote majority over incumbent Ching Su Chen of Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition.

Pushpaneela said when she visited her husband at the camp the last two Sundays, she was surprised to see several detainees showing the thumbs-up sign.

“Although he was not given any extra facilities by the camp, he has Ganabatirau, Vasantha Kumar and Kengadharan, who are living in the same dormitory with him, as his assistants,” she said.

His peers in the camp, especially the dormitory mates, had given him a lot of ideas and advice on how to run the constituency, she added.

Pushpaneela said everyone in the camp had been nice to her husband and he did not complain about any ill treatment. Pushpaneela said she has only one hope and that is to see her husband’s release and him taking over his duties as state assemblyman.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, who is also the DAP chairman, has been conducting their case before various courts.

He said the hearing on the appeal against the high court’s decision last month to strike out the order for release of the five ISA detainees has been fixed for hearing at the Federal Court April 2.

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