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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Police harassment at Hindraf's rally, forum; one arrested


Police arrested an activist and allegedly threatened to assault former ISA detainee P Uthayakumar during an anti-forced conversion rally held by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi at Ipoh, Perak.

Senior Hindraf activist, K Balakrishnan, 53, was detained at 11am when the police attempted to block a delegation marching to the Kinta Palace to hand over a petition on the freedom of religion to the Sultan Azlan of Perak.

It’s learnt that an argument occurred between the police and activists when almost 300 Hindraf activisits, who have gathered at the Royal Casuarina Hotel, some 150m from Kinta Palace, were told to disperse.

The activists, including Hindraf legal advisor Uthayakumar and involuntary conversion ‘victims’ S Banggarma, Rani and Regina, started to gather at the vicinity since 10am.

In the midst of the fierce argument, Balakrishnan, who is popularly known as Capt Bala, was handcuffed and whisked away by the police to the Ipoh city police headquarters.

Hindraf activists also accused the police of assaulting Balakrishnan wife, Shanti, during the commotion.

Earlier police blocked all access roads leading to Kinta Palace to prevent Hindraf activists from handing over the petition to Sultan Azlan.

Following a lengthy heated discussion, the police told Hindraf local leaders that only four activists would be allowed to handover the petition to the palace.

This offer was declined by the Hindraf leaders who wanted the whole delegation to be allowed access to the palace, failing which, for a palace official to be asked to come to meet the delegation.

Police reports against cop

When the police turned down this request, the activists then placed the petition on top of a police patrol car, seemingly requesting the police to submit the petition to the Perak ruler on their behalf.

However, a police officer, only known as Sergeant Major Jamal, took the petition and threw it to the ground.

In the ensuing argument between Jamal and Uthayakumar, the activists saw Jamal threatening the Hindraf leader.

“This is an out-leashing of police terror on a vulnerable rakyat. This is the bloody impunity of the police in Malaysia.

“They can do whatever they please because there has been no accountability for them,” said Perak Hindraf coordinator P Ramesh.

The situation was brought under control after police whisked away Jamal and took away the copy of the petition.

The activists then dispersed from the area and several of them lodged police reports against Jamal at the city police headquarters.

Bernama meanwhile reported that a man was detained for hurling abusive words at a senior policeman during the gathering.

Ipoh deputy police chief Supt Ibrahim Abu Bakar said in the 11.40am incident, the man had used abusive language against Ipoh Tarffic and Public Order chief DSP Rodzi Rejab.

Forum disrupted

Last night some 70 police personnel stopped Hindraf from holding a public forum following the opening of the organisation's Ipoh service centre in Buntong by Uthayakumar.

Some 300 Hindraf activists attended the function.

Seeing the police harassment, Ramesh said the organisers decided to end the function fearing a possible police barge into the gathering, which included elderly people, women and children.

On positive note, Uthayakumar was impressed with the crowd's defiance against police presence.

“There were times Indians would just disperse instantly upon seeing the police. But today (yesterday), they were defiant and ready to stand up for their rights,” said Uthayakumar, also the pro tem secretary-general of Human Rights Party.

courtesy of FMT

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