Release detained Hindraf members: Samy Vellu

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Singapore, Mar 31: The Malaysian government is facing pressure to release five members of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), who were detained under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) last November for organising a massive rally against the Government.

Former Works Minister and Malaysian Indian congress (MIC) leader, S Samy Vellu has joined the opposition leader Mr Lim Kit Siang in calling on releasing the five, detained without trial and indefinite period for being a national security threat. Mr Vellu pointed out that one of the detained, M Manoharan, 46, had won a state assembly seat in the March 8 general election and should be freed while another, R Kenghadaran, 48, was 'very sick'.

Mr Vellu, who lost his parliamentary seat in the elections after having being in the government for some 30 years, also called for the release of V Ganabatirau, 34, and K Vasantha Kumar, 34, saying there were not ''very much involved in the massive rally organised by the unregistered Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 last year''.

The fifth detained Hindraf leader is P Uthayakumar.

While dismissing suggestions that his call for the release of the five Hindraf detainess was political move, he told mediapersons in Kuala Lumpur ''This is done in fairness, sympathy and, also, we feel that we as Indians have to do something about it. It is not a publicity stint.'' But, according to political observers Mr Samy Vellu had supported the detention of the five when he was in government till the March elections.

Meanwhile, Opposition said the government, having done badly in the March 8 General Elections, is still not hearing the people's voices by continuing to detained assemblyman Manoharan.

Lim, the opposition leader, wants Mr Manoharan out of the detention for he is now an elected assemblyman of his party, the Democratic Action Party, which together with Parti Islam SeMalaysia and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, swept five states and 82 parliamentary seats out of the 51-year ruling Barisan Nasional, a multi-party component of predominantly Muslim United Malays National Organisation, supported by the Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian congress (MIC).

MIC performed the worst in the elections for having failed to support Malaysia's two million ethinic Indians who claimed for having left out of the Malaysian economic prosperity while the Chinese domianted trade and commerce and the Malays enjoyed special previleges under the governments' incentive-based economic progress sharing policy.


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