Hindu group in Malaysia denies links with LTTE


Kuala Lumpur : The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), a Malaysian rights outfit, has lodged a police complaint against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after allegations linking the group with Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eeelam (LTTE).

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Hindraf’s senior leader and legal advisor P. Uthayakumar asserted that the outfit had “zero links” with the LTTE or any other terrorist group.

“We do not support violence. We are a non-violent group,” Uthayakumar was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Sunday.

Uthayakumar, who lodged the report at the Jalan Travers police station Saturday, also named Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, minister in the prime minister’s office Mohamed Nazri Aziz, and Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan in the complaint.

The Hindraf’s response came amidst reports that the government could invoke the stringent International Security Act (ISA) against top Hindraf leaders who organized a protest rally on Nov 25 to voice their grievances, claming to speak for the two million-plus, predominantly Tamil Hindu population of immigrants from India.

The rally was declared illegal and forcibly dispersed. Thirty-one people associated with the rally have been denied bail and are being persecuted on charges ranging from disturbing peace to attacking a policeman on duty with intent to murder.

The Badawi government has reacted strongly to the Hindraf’s reported charge of religious discrimination and “ethnic cleansing” of the Indians, who account for eight percent of the country’s 27 million population.

The government has said Hindraf was an “extremist” group, but has so far stopped short of calling it “terrorist”, something that would invite invoking of draconian laws.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak asked Hindraf leaders to “be prepared for the consequences”, saying there was “no room for extremists and fanatics”.

Razak warned that the group would be subjected to the same law that had been taken against other militant, extremist and fanatic groups.

The deputy PM pointed out that India has distanced itself from the group after the Malaysian government said it had links with terrorist organisations.

“I am not saying that Hindraf is a terrorist group. I am saying that if they have links to terrorism, they are subject to the same law,” Najib said at the island resort of Lengkawi.

Hindraf was no exception, he said, adding: “Like the Islamic, Christian or Hindu extremist and fanatic groups, they are also subject to the same law.”

Prime Minister Badawi has said he was “angry” at the charges and has asked the police to probe reports that the Hindraf may nave “terrorist” links, especially with the LTTE, that is declared as such by India, the US, Britain and many other countries.

Most of Malaysia’s other organizations espousing the Indians’ cause have distanced themselves from Hindraf and its programmes, of which CDs and literature has been distributed. There has also been a campaign through Internet and SMSs.

Chief among such organisations is the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the oldest and the largest political party of Indian immigrants, that says that grievances about discrimination in jobs and education must be voiced within the system.

Its president, Samy Vellu, who is also a minister in the Badawi cabinet, said Saturday that the prime minister had the right to invoke ISA against the Hindraf.

“The party will not interfere. It’s up to the Prime Minister to decide as and when there is something dangerous happening in the country,” he said in response to calls to invoke the ISA against Hindraf leaders.

“Hindraf’s agenda is not to fight for the betterment of the Indian community,” Bernama news agency reported Sunday.