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Friday, January 28, 2011

Indian community slams gov't over Kugan, fears further victimization


The Indian community has expressed anger and disappointment over a court's acquittal of a police constable charged for causing grievous hurt to Kugan Ananthan, a 22-year old car theft suspect whom a post-mortem report had said died from torture.

Compounding their dissatisfaction was the fact that there were witnessess to the beatings meted out by Constable V Navindran to Kugan. Navinrdan had allegedly used a rubber hose even though it was not his duty to interrrogate Kugan.

"The dead cannot speak so it makes it easier to deny Kugan justice. The court ruling came as no surprise and was expected of this justice system. The issue no longer concerns justice but about you are up against and the threat you stand to pose. The more 'dangerous' you are perceived, the slimmer your chance of seeing justice being done," social activist Manohara Subramaniam toldMalaysia Chronicle.

To home maker Jesmeet Kaur, the verdict was not unexpected given the government's past record of burying cases that did not favor them. Nonetheless, the callousness towards the taking of a human life was still shocking, she told Malaysia Chronicle.

"How many more deaths in custody must the community read about? This court ruling has put Malaysia in a shameful position as far as the abuse of human rights in this country goes. We already have a bad record as a nation which tramples its people's rights and with the Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock case, we have proved it that when it comes to human rights, Malaysia does not believe in one," said Jesmeet.

Will we always be victimized

Several other community members who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were worried the Indians would continue to be victimised by the police. They said the abuse suffered by the Indians in the Kampung Medan incident in 2001 was still fresh in their mind. The racial clash left six dead and 154 injured.

"It is best if Prime Minister Najib Razak is asked why justice keeps failing the Indians. He keeps saying 1Malaysia is about people first but looking at the cop who is now a free man after beating the daylights out of Kugan, we doubt if Najib is genuine about his claims of this country a home for all,” said one senior community member.

Earlier, Sessions Court judge Aslam Zainuddin had said that Navindran was not required to enter his defence. According to him, the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case.

His ruling sparked an immediate uproar, with Malaysians upset by what they perceive to be another cop-out by the BN government.

Just weeks ago, the Coroner had delivered an "open" verdict, declaring that a 30-year political aide Teoh Beng Hock did not die due to either homicide or suicide. Not only was the decision panned, but thanks to persistent public clamoring, Najib finally agreed to hold a full-scale Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Kugan's family is now demanding a similar RCI for their son.

Calls for AG to quit

Kugan, an insurance executive from Puchong, was arrested on January 14 to facilitate investigations into a luxury car theft syndicate. Six days later, he was dead. Kugan’s family members who stormed the mortuary found his body riddled with severe lacerations. But the first autopsy concluded that Kugan had died as a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs.

The family cried for justice and the government finally consented after inciting huge public anger. A second post-mortem was conducted, this time revealing that the deceased had been tortured to death by way of being burnt, beaten and starved during detention.

Calls are also growing for the Attorney-General Gani Patail to step down following the pattern of failures in the judiciary system that he heads. - Malaysia Chronicle

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