Watchdog to monitor police brutality on Malaysian Indians

February 2nd, 2009 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 2 (IANS) A watchdog to monitor cases of brutality and deaths in police lock-up against ethnic Indians will be set up by the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC)’s youth wing. MIC Youth has set up the newly formed committee comprising seven lawyers and three representatives from non-governmental organisations, New Straits Times said Monday.

The move has come shortly after A. Kugan, 22, a suspected car thief, died during interrogation in police custody Jan 20.

The issue angered members of the community that is two million-strong and ministers and political parties joined the protests last month.

Acting MIC Youth chief T. Mohan said the committee had begun compiling the details of Kugan’s death from his family and the police.

Kugan had been in detention from Jan 14 for investigation into his possible involvement in the theft of several luxury cars.

“These details will be contained in a memorandum to be submitted to the inspector-general of police and deputy prime minister within a week or two.

“We want the police to take action, including specialised training, to make its personnel more responsible for safeguarding human life so there is no repeat of a case like Kugan’s.”

Speaking after chairing the national MIC Youth council meeting Sunday, Mohan said the police and home ministry should re-open and thoroughly investigate every death in police custody.

“The reports of these investigations must be made public and action must be taken against the personnel involved to restore public confidence in the police force.”

Mohan said although people of all communities had died in police custody, records show that in the last eight years about 80 Indians had died in lock-ups.

“The police should also appoint more Indian officers to high positions. They would be better equipped to handle young Indian offenders and spread anti-crime awareness,” he said.

MIC Youth plans to hold prayers for Kugan at the Klang Sivan temple Friday evening, Mohan said.

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