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Perhimpunan Hindraf cuba ganggu pilihanraya

Ia dilakukan oleh golongan pelampau. Itu Pak Lah kata. BN dikejutkan oleh kaum India lagi.

Malaysia police fire tear gas at flower protest - Khaleej Times
Tear gas scatters Malaysian 'flower power' - Reuters

Ethnic Indians resort to Gandhigiri, face police crackdown

Kuala Lumpur (PTI) Feb 16 - In a fresh crackdown on ethnic Indians, Malaysian police on Saturday fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse over 200 protesters who tried to march to Parliament in defiance of a ban to give roses to premier Abdullah Badawi to "seek justice".

More than 100 people, including supporters and members of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) that has been spearheading anti-government protests against alleged mariginalisation of the community, were rounded up by police and all but six were later released.

Police had barricaded roads leading to Parliament house to prevent the rally which had been denied permission.

Taking a cue from 'Gandhigiri', the flower-clutching Indians, some of whom wore saffron T-shirts, attempted to gather at the Independence Square here.

"The yellow flowers are a symbol of our cry for justice," a statement by Hindraf said while demanding the release of five of its leaders who have been held under the draconian Internal Security Act for taking part in a massive anti-government protest in November.

The six people detained on Saturday were sent to Pudu jail and will be charged for taking part in the march declared illegal by the government, Eshwari Wayathamoorthy, wife of Hindraf Chief-in-exile P Wayathamoorthy told PTI.

Wayathamoorthy's five-year-old daughter Vvaishnavvi had planned to walk to Parliament with some other children and Hindraf supporters to give flowers to Abdullah and also appeal for the release of her "five uncles".

"My daughter and other children were kept in the car. We never expected police would fire water cannon and tear gas," Vvaishnnavi's mother said.

Vvaishnnavi wanted to present roses to Badawi and had last month written a letter to him urging him to be present at the Parliament house to receive the Valentine flowers from her and other children.

Vvaishnnavi's mother said her daughter was terrified when police was firing tear gas. "She saw the scene from the car and was terrified," Eshwari said.

Saturday's rally came ahead of general elections on March 8, a year ahead of schedule.

Police had denied a permit to Hindraf to hold the rally and had set up barricades along main roads leading to Parliament. However some 200 people managed to gather at a nearby building shouting "Long Live Hindraf" and "We want our rights." Police sprayed chemical-laced water and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Hindraf shot to prominence after it organised an unprecedented demonstration on November 25 to protest against alleged marginalisation of ethnic Indians. More than 20,000 ethnic Indians attended the rally, taking the government by total surprise.

Five Hindraf leaders were detained under the controversial ISA while the outfit's chief Wayathamoorthy left the country and is currently in London on self-imposed exile.

Indians form 7.8 per cent of the country's total population of 27 million and are mostly Hindus with origin from Tamil Nadu. The Muslim Malays form 60 per cent of the population while the Chinese, who account for 25 per cent, are Buddhists or Christians. Malaysia allows the practice of all regions.

The government has denied allegations of marginalisation of Indians. However, the November 25 rally took the government and the people by total surprise and since then the government leaders have been busy wooing ethnic Indians and promising to seriously look into their woes.

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