Hindraf supporters attend Malaysian PM’s Eid open houseOctober 3rd, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 3 (IANS) Members of a Hindu body utilised Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi’s annual Hari Raya open house to seek freedom for five of their detained leaders.W. Vaishnavee, daughter of exiled chief P. Waythamoorthy of the Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf), presented the prime minister with a teddy bear and a Hari Raya card Thursday during the surprise encounter that caused brief commotion, The Star newspaper said.
Waythamoorthy’s wife K. Shanti told media later that the card contained a message urging Badawi to release Hindraf leaders detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Hindraf activists went in strength, about 165, media reports said.
Just anybody can walk into the prime minister’s once-a-year reception. Media reported even tourists flocking to the venue.
While Waythamoorthy has been in London since December, his colleagues M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and K. Vasanthakumar were detained for organising a protest rally in last November.
The rally sought to highlight perceived discrimination in jobs and education of the Hindu Tamils, who form a bulk of Malaysia’s 2.6 million ethnic Indians, nearly eight percent of the 28 million population.
The five are serving two-year jail terms and the government - alleging that they sought to disturb the delicate ethnic balance in the country - has disregarded appeals from the ruling coalition and human rights bodies seeking their release.
Multi-ethnic Malaysia has majority Muslim Malays and 33 percent Chinese, besides Indians and other groups.