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Malaysia may prosecute eight Hindraf supporters


Kuala Lumpur : Eight members of the Indian ethnic community who were among 160 people detained at a gathering organised here by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) may be prosecuted for joining an illegal assembly.

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Ku Chin Wah said in reports published Monday that the eight were likely to be prosecuted because the rally, called the Rose Campaign, had been declared illegal.

It was so called because the protestors, demanding an end to what they said was discrimination against Malaysian Indians, had wanted to present white and yellow roses to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The more than two million Tamil Hindus in Malaysia are seeking better jobs, education and economic opportunities.

The protestors also wanted the release of Hindraf organisers of an earlier rally of November. They have been detained for two years under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA).

The police denied permission to the organisers of the rose rally and dispersed them using water cannon charge and teargas. The gathering attracted about 300 people including children.

City police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said the eight could be charged with participating in an illegal assembly. If convicted, they could face two years in jail or a maximum fine of RM 10,000 (approx $450) or both.