|Gerakan wants Hindraf 5 released|
|Mar 19, 08 4:36pm|
| Gerakan today called upon Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force leaders presently being detained under the Internal Security Act.|
The party’s assistant secretary KK Supramaniam urged all political leaders under the Barisan Nasional coalition to request the prime minister to release the five as soon as possible.
“Majority of the Indian Malaysians are upset that the five Hindraf leaders are still being detained under the ISA,” he said in a statement today.
The five Hindraf leaders - P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasantha Kumar - were arrested on Dec 13 and placed under two-year detention at the Kamunting detention centre for allegedly being a national threat.
Hindraf became a household name on Nov 25 last year after a rally it organised drew some 30,000 disgruntled Indians to the streets and made headlines the world over.
While numerous quarters agreed with the issues the movement raised, Hindraf also drew criticisms for alleging that a state-sanctioned ethic cleansing of Indians was taking place.
The government condemned the movement as an extremist outfit and subsequently detained these five leaders under the ISA.
Immunity to Waythamoorthy
The movement’s chairperson P Waythamoorthy however escaped detention as he was away in India canvassing support for the movement at that time. He is presently based in London, directing the movement from there with the help of several coordinators in Malaysia.
Supramaniam also said that Abdullah should grant immunity to Waythamoorthy to allow him to return to Malaysia.
“If the self-exiled leader is to be charge for treason, then I request that other opposition leaders, who have committed the similar offence should also be charged,” he added.
The awareness created by Hindraf among the Indian community turned into a huge swing of disapproval against the BN government, resulting in massive losses for parties such as Gerakan, MCA and MIC.
Gerakan, a senior component member of the BN, suffered a humiliating blow when it lost its grip of the Penang state government to opposition party DAP.
Similarly the anti-establishment wave among the Indian community also resulted in big defeats for MIC, the sole Indian representative in the government, including the defeat of party president S Samy Vellu in Sungai Siput.
Gerakan has always advocated for the abolishment of the ISA.