Singapore, Dec 13 (UNI) Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) activists who had led a mass anti-government protest in Malaysia last month were detained today under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows detention without trial.
Malaysia Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharom confirmed that the five leaders-- P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasanthakumar-- were detained under section 8(1) of the Act.
''They can be held for two years for sedition and also for carrying out activities that threaten national security,'' Malaysian news agency Bernama quoted the minister as saying.
The five Hindraf leaders had raised issues relating to ethnic Indian cleansing in Malaysia and deprivation of the minority community, largely Hindus, from participating in the Malaysian prosperity.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had recently warned that the ISA would be used on those disturbing public peace in Malaysia.
The 25 November Hindraf led protest march in Kuala Lumpur, attended by almost 20,000 people, was the largest illegal gathering in Malaysia and had upset the political landscape in the country of 26 million, about two million of which are ethnic Indians.
Hindraf leaders have raised their plight with the British Government, which were the former colonial masters, and have taken steps to approach the United Nations.