Indian NGOs launch postcard campaign for Hindraf leaders’ freedom

May 7th, 2008 - 12:58 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 7 (IANS) A coalition of India-based NGOs has distributed 100,000 postcards among the Malaysian public to be sent to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, seeking freedom for five jailed Hindu Tamil leaders. Coalition of Malaysian Indian Organisations secretary Gunaraj George said the NGOs are supporting the Hindu Rights Action Force’s (Hindraf) efforts to seek freedom for its five leaders currently being detained under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA).

Lawyers Ganabatirau Veeraman, Uthayakumar Ponnusamy, Manoharan Malayalam, and Kengadharan Ramasamy, as well as ex-bank executive Vasantha Kumar Krishnan were jailed for two years after they organised a protest rally on behalf of Malaysia’s two million Tamil Hindus Nov 25, 2007. The rally of estimated 10,000 was declared illegal and forcibly dispersed by police using water cannons.

George said: “We also want the government to release all others who are being held under the ISA.”

He expressed hope that the Hindraf leaders would be released soon without serving the two-year detention period since their case had generated international interest.

The government has said it suspects the five Hindraf leaders have terror links, especially with the Liberation of Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Pleas by political parties and human rights bodies seeking their release have gone unheeded by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar who that says the government will go by “national interests” and not “sentiments”.

By a royal decree issued by the sultan of Malaysia, the five are to serve their full jail terms.

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