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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guns trained on Indian student group’s chief

Apparently someone in the Prime Minister's Office is not pleased with Mahaganapathy Das and wants him out of the way.

PETALING JAYA: Just three months after its launch, the 1Malaysia Indian Student Movement (1MISM) seems to be undergoing a leadership problem with its president Mahaganapathy Dass asked to go on leave until the 1MISM’s annual general meeting.

The move to oust the 1MISM president, sources reveal, was allegedly spearheaded by its vice-president Shamrat Sen Gupta, vice-president II Kamalan Rajagopalu, assistant secretary-general Ranes Subramaniam and executive council member Thanaselan Rajendran.

Kamalan is the son of Negeri Sembilan MIC chief T Rajagopalu while Thanaselan is the special assistant to Prime Minister’s Special Officer Ravin Ponniah.

“But we believe that the orders to ask the president to go on leave came from the outside…it is political in nature. Sad to say but the move started from the Prime Minister’s Office,” said a reliable source who did not want to be named.

The movement was launched by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on July 28, this year. At the launch, Najib announced that all public universities would make changes to the semester schedules to allow Indian students to celebrate the just concluded Deepavali celebrations.

At the event, the Barisan Nasional chief had also announced that vegetarian food would be made available in all universities, while bus services would be provided for all Hindu university students who want to go to temples on Friday evenings.

The announcements, was seen by political observers, as a move by Najib to attract Indian youth, mainly students.

“These so-called important measures had also strengthened 1MISM’s standing… equalling it to the strong Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung better known as GPMS,” said the source.

The source also claimed that Mahaganapathy’s unsigned “leave” letter originated from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“He is now being asked to sign his leave letter. He is being put under pressure to sign it because someone from the Prime Minister’s Office feels that they cannot work with him.

“Mahaganapathy was not doing what he was told. He had become a hindrance to their agenda which is to make 1MISM as strong as GPMS. Once 1MISM is strong then they can ask for grants and such, directly from the PM’s office,” said the source.

Mahaganapathy, it is learnt, was asked to cite “extreme study pressure and other personal commitments” as the reason for his leave.

The purported leave letter also relieves Mahaganapathy of all executive powers as president of the movement, including signing of cheques.

“The letter also states that Mahaganapathy would surrender all correspondence and letterheads and all other relevant documents in his possession,” said the source.

1MISM was established to protect the rights and welfare of Indian university students. It has about 7,000 members from higher education institutions around the country.

FMT could not reach Mahaganapathy for comment.

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