Malaysian Hindu organisation asks India to address diaspora issues

Kuala Lumpur : Hindraf, a coalition of 30 Hindu non-governmental organisations in Malaysia, has asked the Indian government to include human rights issues affecting the Indian diaspora in the agenda of next year’s annual diaspora conclave, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, media reported Monday.

In a letter to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy said it was imperative to hear out the human right issues of overseas Indians, Free Malaysia Today online reported.

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He said that India’s previous Congress government ignored Hindraf’s numerous pleas for protection and care for overseas Indians.

Waythamoorthy is, however, optimistic that the BJP government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay attention to his letter.

He said violations of human rights, discrimination and marginalisation of Malaysian Indians were well documented.

He added that discrimination and marginalisation of Indians were also happening in Fiji, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Surinam.

“Regrettably the Congress government ignored our appeals,” he was quoted as saying.

“Hindraf was disappointed that the issue of serious human rights violations affecting the Indian diaspora never found its way in the conference agenda,” he added.

“The BJP government should give the Indian diaspora a platform to be heard at the conference.”

Hindraf was founded in 2003 and representatives of the group attend the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas every year, the report said.

Ethnic Indians comprise a little over seven percent of Malaysia’s total popualtion of nearly 30 million.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is held in the month of January every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indians to the development of India.