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Feb 17, 2008


Hindraf’s ‘roses campaign’ thwarted
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
P. S. Suryanarayana

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Saturday quelled an unusual protest “walk” organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) at a number of places here.

In a dramatic show of force, police fired teargas and targeted water cannon at several hundred ethnic Indians, who defiantly assembled for a “roses campaign” demanding justice while offering these flowers as a gesture of goodwill towards the authorities.

Following an overnight ban on this “campaign,” Hindraf abandoned its original melodramatic plan of staging a short “walk” towards the Parliament House here, with children in the vanguard and carrying roses for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Vwaishhnnavi, five-year- old daughter of self-exiled Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy, was designated to lead the “walk” and greet the Prime Minister. Under guidance, she had earlier written a letter to him requesting him to accept such an offer.

In the final act on this day of “state power,” Hindraf followers raised an hour-long chorus of slogans about “people power” at a Vinayaka temple in the heart of the city, even as a lone woman walked up to a riot-control officer there and handed him a yellow rose. Another police officer was seen declining a similar offer even as Hindraf supporters began cheering her. The standoff near the shrine passed off without the police using water cannon that was on stand-by.


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