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Police crackdown on Human Rights defenders in Malaysia
Hindraf organised a massive Solidarity March Against Racism (UMNO racism) on Sunday 27th February at KLCC. More than 1 million fliers were distributed in this campaign to eliminate and dismantle UMNO’s Institutionalised racism and various road shows were held nationwide to explain to the people how the UMNO government has manipulated, planted and entrenched racism in Malaysia in an elusive way.
The Police frustrated the March by a massive crackdown on all key Hindraf leaders nationwide and their volunteers. All 15 key Hindraf leaders were arrested 2 hours before the march. At least 30 coaches ferrying campaigners from across the country were stopped from entering Kuala Lumpur city at various points. The drivers were threatened that their bus permits would be revoked if they were not to follow the orders.
In the Kuala Lumpur city Indians were profiled and were arrested within 3 KM radius of the city as early as 2 hours before the march. A group of wheelchair bound well wishers were also arrested and prevented from joining the March. On the whole there were at least 3000 people throughout KL city but were unable to group at the designated KLCC as Police either intimidated them from coming in or they were arrested.
We have reliable source that more than 280 people were arrested but out of this only 109 were processed and the remaining were released without the Police getting details from them.
Since the 27th Feb, the police are systematically eliminating Hindraf which is a Human Rights Advocacy movement for the protection of minority rights. On the 1st March 5 leaders in Kuala Lumpur were arrested and charged for being a member of an illegal society. Today a total of 6 were arrested and charged in Kuala Lumpur.
Tomorrow 3rd March 22 key members were instructed to surrender themselves in the state of Negeri sembilan to be charged with similar offences. A further 25 from the State of Selangor were told to surrender at the Kuala Lumpur Court to be charged. We are receiving information as I write this note (2.00pm GMT 2/3/11) that many others are being arrested at their work places and homes and remanded overnight only to be charged tomorrow am. This is definitely an intimidation and harassment of supporters who were previously bailed to return to court. There was no need to arrest and remand them over night just for purposes of charging them tomorrow. We believe this is a repeat of the 2007 crack down on Hindraf members. Even a doctor (Dr Bani) who was attending to his patient in his private practice was arrested in full view of all his patients at 2.05 GMT (2/3/11)
All are likely to be charged with illegal assembly and for participating with a banned organisation. Though Hindraf was banned in 2008, it was merely a ministerial statement in the media. We have not been given any court order thus far. In 2009 we had rebranded our organisation and renamed it HINDRAF MAKKAL SAKTHI and our annual Convention was held in August 2010 attended by delegates from throughout the country.
It is clear that the Government is clamping on Hindraf Makkal Sakthi to prevent it from furthering its agenda and campaign against 54 years of racist policies in Malaysia. Hindraf has taken the unprecedented move to campaign in the struggle for dismantling of 54 years of UMNO led Government Institutionalised racism.
We urge you to make an urgent representation to the Malaysian Government to stop its clampdown on Hindraf, its leaders and well wishers and allow Hindraf to be registered as a Human Rights body.