Hindraf lobbies with government, opposition

May 13th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 13 (IANS) As the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) continues to lobby for the release of its detained leaders, Malaysia’s opposition has also taken up the issue. Opposition leaders Wan Azizah an Ismail and Lim Kit Siang said they had sought to put up questions in parliament, but were not allowed to do so.

The two met a Hindraf delegation in the parliament lobby Monday, The Star newspaper said.

Hindraf leaders have also urged Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to visit the detention camp saying that its leaders have been held under conditions that are “not safe”.

The Hindraf team made its fourth visit to the prime minister’s department and submitted a memorandum saying the conditions were bad for all 70 detained, irrespective of their race or political orientation.

Hindraf national coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran who led the delegation said: “The water is filthy while shrubs and bushes are overgrown and not maintained. The overall condition is non-conducive and no longer safe for both the detainees and security officers there.”

“The prime minister should spare some time to check on the condition at the camp and visit the detainees. The families of ISA detainees are appealing to him to visit the camp. We believe that he has been misinformed on the conditions at the camp.”

Hindraf wants the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) under which five of the group’s top leaders - M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kengadharan, and K. Vasantha Kumar - have been held since December to serve two-year terms.

The five have been detained for organising a rally in November to voice grievances of Tamil Hindus who form a bulk of the ethnic Indian population of an estimated 2.6 million.

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) that has traditionally spoken for the estimated 2.6 million ethnic Indians has said that continued detention of Hindraf leaders was making them ‘prominent’.

They should be let off if they do not pose a threat to the country, MIC Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran said.

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