Indian national, 2 Malayasian Hindu leaders to be freed Sunday (Lead)

April 4th, 2009 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Hindraf Kuala Lumpur, April 4 (IANS) An Indian national, arrested for travelling on forged documents, and two leaders of a banned Hindu group, will be among 13 people who will walk free Sunday as a “gesture or reconciliation” by new Malayasian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
The Indian national has been identified as Sunderaraj and the leaders of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) are V. Ganabatirau and S. Kengadharan, The Star newspaper reported.

The leaders were arrested after the group staged a protest rally in November 2007.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said that it was Razak’s wish “to see members of the society build the nation in the spirit of reconciliation towards the one Malaysia concept”.

“It is a good start for the government and consistent with the policy of openness for reforms. He (Razak) has put the interest of the nation above self,” Albar said.

Ganabatirau’s wife B. Vuvaneswary expressed her thanks to Razak, sworn in as the new prime minister Friday, for the government’s decision to release her husband who has been in detention since December 2007.

She arrived at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak state early Saturday with two daughters aged four and two-and-a-half years.

“The first thing I want to do is to take my husband for a meal,” she said.

She hoped that the government would also release three other Hindraf leaders - P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan and T. Vasanthakumar, the New Straits Times said.

Their two-year jail term will end in December. Vasanth Kumar and Uthaya Kumar have been unwell while in jail. They suffer from acute diabetes and complain of lack of proper medication.

Hindraf claims to speak for the two million-plus ethnic Indian settlers, a bulk of them Tamil Hindus, who came here during the British era. It complains of discrimination in jobs and education and destruction of Hindu temples in Malaysia.

Indians form eight percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population that has a majority of Malay Muslims and an estimated 33 percent ethnic Chinese.

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