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Feb 12, 2008

Hopeful Hindraf knocks on PM's door once more

Malaysiakini - Yet another appeal has been sent to the premier to keep a Valentine’s date with children on Saturday....but will the response be yet more silence? Supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) hope not.

A 25-strong group was at the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya today to submit a letter to remind Abdullah Ahmad Badawi about a planned gathering of 200 children and their parents on Saturday.

The movement has arranged for the group to meet at Parliament House - the idea is for the children to hand over red and yellow roses to Abdullah, if he shows up.

hindraf letter submission 110208 standThis morning, a five-member delegation handed over a letter to Special Officer Rovin Ponninaih and held a 20-minute discussion with him, to explain their intentions.

"We just want the prime minister to receive roses from the children. We want to have a dialogue with him to discuss issues affecting the Indian (Malaysian) community," Hindraf national co-ordinator RS Thanentiran (right, in photo) said after the meeting.

"He is our leader. He should meet us to listen to what we have to say, as he is serving us (citizens). The dialogue should be directly between us and him, (with) no middlemen (involved)."

Teacher K Krishnan, 58, said with a smile: "This is a peaceful gesture shown by courageous children and we do hope that (Abdullah) will attend.

"I am a strong supporter of the government. I still have hope that this government will help elevate the status of the Indian community."

wahthamoorthy daughter memo 220108 w vwaishhnnaviAbdullah has yet to reply to a handwritten invitation from five-year-old Vwaishhnnavi, the only daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy, who had submitted it at the PM’s Department on Jan 22. He is in self-imposed exile in London to build support for Hindraf’s cause.

On Feb 6, Vwaishhnnavi submitted another letter at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, asking its chairperson Abu Talib Othman to attend the event as ‘insurance’ to protect the group from possible police action and to uphold their human rights.

Application submitted

Hindraf is also seeking the release of of its leaders and legal advisers who have been detained under the Internal Security Act since Dec 13 last year. Among them are Waythamoorthy’s brother, Uthayakumar.

In relation to this, the children will carry red roses as a symbol of the "love and peace with which Hindraf brings its message" and yellow roses to signify the movement’s demand for justice for those detained.

‘Rose campaign’ co-ordinator S Manickavasagam said an application for a permit was submitted to Sentul police on Jan 31, but that there has been no response as yet.

Hindraf had earlier said it will proceed with the event even if no permit is issued, as the gathering will be a peaceful one.

hindraf british petition rally 251107On Nov 25 last year, it had attempted to organise a mass gathering of supporters for a march to the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, to hand over a memorandum addressed to Queen Elizabeth.

However, police moved in and dispersed the crowd with tear gas and chemical-laced water. This was followed with the arrests of protesters, dozens of whom have been charged with illegal assembly.

Since the protest, the government has appeared more amenable to act on long-standing complaints about the socio-economic disparities, as well as complaints of discrimination and marginalisation of the community since colonial days.

In doing so, however, Abdullah has only met with political and civil society groups representing various segments of the community.

Hindraf itself has been ‘ignored’, according to its leaders, who want to submit an 18-point memorandum to him.


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