Justice For All Malaysia

Fearless Indians fight for rights

Posted on: November 27, 2007

Fearless Indians fight for rights
K Kabilan
Nov 26, 07 4:17pm

Malaysikini.com 

   

news analysis “Let’s see how makkal sakti (Tamil for ‘people power’) works now,”

was Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy’s reaction, just after he and two

other key leaders were arrested 48 hours before the rally planned by

the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

And on Sunday, the people – almost all from the Hindu community –

responded impressively by taking part in the rally which attracted

an estimated 30,000 from all over the country.

Waythamoorthy (right) and his brother Uthayakumar

(left)are the prime movers behind Hindraf.

Apart from often being the first to react with

a grassroots presence whenever an incident involves the

community, they have also held a successful nationwide

roadshow to remind Indians of their rights.

In the process, Hindraf has tapped the anger within the community, and it was shown by those who participated in the rally and the thousands of others who were prevented by the police from entering Kuala Lumpur.

The real heroes, though, were the protesters.

This was a crowd which is angry

with the way Indian Malaysians

are being treated. They are fed-up with

being downtrodden. They are frustrated

with being treated as third-class citizens

in their own country.

So, they had no hesitation about accepting

Hindraf’s invitation to come to Kuala Lumpur

to express their anger despite the

prior warnings issued by the polic and political leaders – and in defiance of a

restraining order that could see them jailed for contempt of court.

As many told Malaysiakini, the most recent demolition of a

Hindu temple in Klang was the catalyst for their presence.

‘Hear our voice’

Many of the protesters were out-of-towners. They have

been deprived of a forum and the opportunity to say their piece.

Many are also MIC supporters, now with full regret that the only

Indian-based party in the Barisan Nasional has been helpless

in stopping temple demolitions.

“This is the end. We have come here to protest against how

the government treats us. They can beat us today.

They can put us in prison. We don’t care. We want to

tell the government that we are fed up,” said 52-year-old

S Aiyakannu from Old Klang Road.

His son Palani led a three-bus convoy from up north.

“For us, it is like a life or death situation. If our voice is heard today,

good. Otherwise, this frustrated community will have to show

that we can’t be taken for a ride at all time,” he added.

Others shared

his sentiments.

Many have not seen

Waythamoorthy or his

brother Uthayakumar

but have heard of their

movement to mobilise

the community fo the rally.

“We have had enough of this

bad treatment. They (government) can’t push us any lower.

This is the limit. I am not here to support Hindraf’s suit against

the UK government but I want to be here to show my anger,”

said K Suresh from Sungai Petani.

The majority of the crowd was well-behaved, showing expected

grit in the face of the heavy police presence and eventual

use of water cannon and tear gas.

Every time they were sprayed with chemical-laced water

and tear gas, they retreated only to come forward,

in a bigger number.

Many carried posters of Mahatma Gandhi to symbolise

their pacifist stand, and carried none of the banners

and posters usually associated with political rallies.

The protesters gathered at about nine locations

around Jalan Ampang and the KLCC . Every time

they were stopped from marching forward,

they would disperse and regroup at another spot.

(See map below)

At times, they even managed to disperse and

regroup behind the police line, forcing the

FRU trucks and street personnel to turn around or alter their positions.

Ready for battle

Eyewitnesses say that reports of protesters hurting

the police are exaggerated. In most spots,

it was the other way round with the protesters

taking the brunt of tear gas and chemical-laced water.

While no one

disputes that

police response

had initially been

retrained, the kid

gloves came off

the moment they

started arresting

the protesters for

breaching the court

order that banned the rally. Some were dragged along the road and hurled

into waiting police trucks.

Even as they were being arrested, many submitted without

resistance or complain.

One old man was heard saying that he was proud

to be arrested over a cause for his community.

Similar sentiments were heard when the protesters were

hit with water and tear gas.

“We are people who work hard to live. We don’t work in

air-conditioned offices like the KL people. We work under

the sun and rain. We are hardy. Let them hit us with anything.

We will stand still,” said Raman, a bus driver from

Batang Berjuntai, Selangor.

Comical moments

Although emotions sometimes ran high, there were some

light-hearted moments at the expense of the police, which

lifted the spirits of the protesters.

On one occasion,

police fired rounds

of tear gas at their own men,

totally missing about 1,000

protesters standing in the vicinity.

Seeing the men-in-blue running

helter-skelter brought them joy,

as much as seeing a Caucasian

jogging in the middle of a stand-off

between protesters and the police,

oblivious to the tension around him!

The police did their best to disperse the crowd. After realising that tear gas,

water cannon and arrests were not doing the job, they started telling

the protesters that Hindraf leaders had submitted the memorandum

as planned to the British High Commission.

They also said that Hindraf leaders had called for the protesters to disperse.

The protesters however were not buying any of this, telling the police

to just let them march to the high commission and disperse from there.

“Never mind about the memorandum. Just let us walk

peacefully right up to the high commission,” said a

young man who was soon arrested for breaching the court order.

By the end of the six-hour cat-and-mouse game,

it was the police who grew tired. Towards the end,

they only concentrated on protecting their cordon

around the high commission.

Wake-up call

One thing is sure. This was not a political protest.

This was a protest against the marginalisation of the Indian community.

It was a case of the community hitting the streets because

they have no where else to take entrenched problems.

The show of force must surely be a wake-up call,

not just for the community but also

for MIC and the government.

Government leaders and the police can

insist that the gathering was illegal but

an overwhelming people power proved

on Sunday that sentiments on the

ground should not be neglected.

The Hindraf rally was the second

mass protest this month – after the Bersih rally on Nov 10 – and the third if we

include the lawyers’ ‘Walk for Justice’ in Putrajaya last month.

The protesters on all three occasions had no fear whatsoever in making their stand –

and at each event, the police could not find a definitive tactic to put them off their purpose.

If the momentum continues, the people power as envisaged

by Waythamoorthy, could well lead to changes that are long overdue.

See map of Hindraf rally

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Must Attend Program

Please go to this link: https://justice4allkuantan.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/invitation-public-forum-the-isa-and-the-police-reform-process-whats-next-after-pak-lah/
To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of people - Emily Cox

Siphoning EPF money

On 'Why should Valuecap borrow from EPF?' Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud: MTUC condemns the government's move to bail out Valuecap to support the local stock market using RM5 billion from EPF, as the provident fund is the custodian of the workers' money and not some sort of ‘automated teller machine' for the government.
If at all the EPF were to lend its money to the government, it has to be under the condition that there be transparency and accountability in the activities for which the money has been purposed. We want to know who is doing what with the money that belongs to the workers. This is the hard-earned money of the workers, their retirement plan. How is this bailout plan going to benefit the workers? We also question the reason for this bailout. If the economic fundamentals in Malaysia are strong and reserves sufficient as has been stated several times by the government, then why is there a need to offer so much money to the GLCs? Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop should prove how the EPF would profit from this loan. Bernama had reported that Nor had given the assurance that the loan given out by EPF would reap profits for the fund judging from Valuecap's past performance. But where is the paperwork and calculations to show that this move will benefit the EPF? MTUC is concerned that the loan might be mismanaged or misused and this, in turn, would affect the returns for the contributors. Mere assurances are not enough. We want to proof that this RM5 billion will not go down the drain. (The writer is president, MTUC). Sharyn: The government wants to use our pension money to prop up the Malaysian stock market which is the playing field of the rich people. If so, the government must ensure that the EPF account holders - who are predominantly the poor to average citizens of Malaysia - be guaranteed all of our pension money with a compound 8% growth (interest). It's so selfish and sick of the government to use the poor's pension money to help the rich to make more money with all the risks taken by the poor/average citizen. We can better use the RM% billion loans to Valuecap for our children's education, shelter, medical bills etc. Why not get those rich people to prop up the share market instead? Why should they park their money overseas and gamble with our EPF money instead? Kumar14: Who is behind this Valuecap organisation? Why suddenly, this separate entity is allowed to access funds from the EPF? Are they capable enough to handle it or is it just another desperate and blind move? It has been a very infamous trend where the people's funds are channeled to a company for investment purposes and suddenly POP! the funds disappear and there is nobody to be held responsible but a RM2 shell company. Charge who? Sue whom? The RM2 company (just a registered name)? We have seen this many times. People in power and with connections allow such things to go through and reap/rob the people's wealth and then blame it on organisations which actually don't exist. What if a lot of EPF funds are looted via such scams and nobody is to be pointed at? Where will the government get the funds to replenish the EPF? The people are very bored, disappointed, angry and frustrated at seeing all these dumb and unaccounted for measures being allowed by the government with lame excuses. Please, somebody verify the true purpose, integrity and capability of anybody attempting to use the people's fund.

Raja Petra

Photobucket Ihsan dari blog Go!Malaysian http://gomalaysian.blogspot.com/

ANWAR IBRAHIM

A prosperous future is indivisible from a firm commitment to the principles of distributive justice, the rule of law and a profound respect for human rights.

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