Malaysia: Hindraf members shave off heads

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Singapore, Dec 21: Sixteen ethnic Indians of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) have shaved off their heads yesterday at the century old Batu Caves Hindu temple in Malaysia, to protest the detention of their leaders without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The members of the group carried placards of Mahatma Gandhi in a peaceful protest against the government who has detained five hindraf leaders for fanning 'racial hatred' and posing 'threat to national security.' Malaysian and regional reports said about 100 ethnic Indians had gathered at the Batu Caves temple compound, outside Kuala Lumpur, praying for the release of those being held under the ISA which allows the government to detain those disturbing peace in the country.

The ethnic Hindu Indians from Hindraf are on protest since November 25 demanding equal rights in a predominantly Muslim Malaysia's economic progress.

The Gandhi photo on the placards had a caption 'HINDRAF Peaceful Struggle' in English and Tamil.

Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president and Works Minister S Samy Vellu has been trying to make peace with the Hindraf members and had highlighted that ethnic Indians in Malaysia were as prosperous as any other community, including the Chinese.

MIC Youth Wing has also launched a week-long nationwide campaign to win back the ethnic Indian Hindus of Hindraf ahead of the general election expected next year.

Meanwhile, the MIC state liaison chairman K S Balakrishnan in the southern most Johor state of peninsular Malaysia has re-assured that the Indian community in the state has never been marginalised as alleged by Hindraf.

The Johor state government has given grants of nine million Malaysian dollar over the past several years for the development and modernisation of Tamil schools, he pointed out.

The state government has given two million Malaysian dollars last year to build new Tamil schools, renovate classrooms and buy equipment, he added.

Tamil is the fourth main languages after Malay, English and Chinese widely spoken in Malaysia.


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