Five detained before Malaysian Indian’s funeral

January 28th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 28 (IANS) The police Wednesday detained five men who tried to breach a barricade ahead of the funeral procession of a Malaysian Indian youth who died while in custody. The men were wearing T-shirts bearing the name of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force, Star Online reported. The police acted after ordering ethnic Indians to disperse from the hospital where the body is kept.

A. Kugan, 22 and a suspected car thief, collapsed and died at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya last week.

An initial postmortem said he died due to fluid in his lungs. But Kugan’s family entered the hospital mortuary that same day and took photographs of his body, which showed severe bruises.

They demanded a second postmortem. That report is not out yet.

The death has triggered protests from Malaysian Indians. Leaders of different political parties, including constituents of the ruling Barisan Nasional, have joined the protests.

It has also led to a war of words between Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar and two deputy ministers who are ethnic Indians.

Members of the Field Reserve Unit and the Light Strike Force were deployed early Wednesday to prepare for the funeral procession.

The police have warned that any attempt to change the procession route from the hospital mortuary would be deemed illegal.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar banned banners and posters during Kugan’s funeral. He said the funeral should not be turned into a racial event.

Kugan’s uncle Ravi Roy, 42, earlier told the media that the family wanted to know the truth behind the death but was not blaming the police for it.

“We are not blaming the entire police force, all we want is for the people who are responsible to be brought to justice,” he said.

While initially saying no foul play was involved, the police have now called it murder for the purpose of investigation — at the urging of the attorney general.

Over two million ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamils, are part of Malaysia’s population of 28 million.

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