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National reconciliation not confrontation with dispossessed & displaced Malaysians - any inappropriate language used by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) will not erode support from the Indian community when the principal cause of marginalisation of Indians is not addressed but met with high-handed and arbitrary action against Hindraf supporters

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Press Statement (2)

by Lim Guan Eng

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(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Any inappropriate language used by Hindraf will not erode support from the Indian community when the principal cause of the depth of marginalisation of Indians is not redressed by the BN government but met instead with high-handed and arbitrary action against Hindraf supporters. The decision by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to personally lead the prosecution of 31 Indians for attempted murder, illegal assembly, rioting and mischief in Shah Alam Sessionsís court is proof of further persecution and victimisation of Indians when Gani refuses to personally handle the sensational Altatunya murder trial.

Many Indians are offended that the government is alleging that these offences were committed at the Batu Caves Temple, when it is only natural for devotees to gather in large numbers to pray there. Further many of the accused were ill, one had undergone kidney transplant, another had a hole in the heart and one of them was deaf. Another four had attended a wedding ceremony at the temple while another was there to offer special prayers for his daughterís birthday.

The BN government must understand why Hindraf has struck a chord amongst Indians at all levels in spite of intemperate and inaccurate language being used, when Indians see innocent people gathering to pray at a lawfully established temple being charged for illegal assembly. The failure or refusal of the BN government to recognize the legitimate grievances of the Indians explains why the government sees this as an uprising by poor, displaced and dispossessed Indians which must be put down. This widening gulf in perceptions between the government and the Indian community will only worsen if the government uses harsh and brutal tactics.

DAP reiterates that violence in the 25th November rally was perpetrated by harsh police tactics and brutality. Pictures shown on international news agencies such as Al-Jazeera clearly showed that the demonstrators were unarmed and peaceful when attacked by police with tear gas, water cannons and beaten up with batons.

Tan Sri Gani Patailís act of charging devotees gathered at a temple with attempted murder of a policeman who was injured smacks of double-standards when no similar attempted murder charges were filed against policemen responsible for injuring or beating up innocent bystanders until their legs were broken at an earlier Bersih rally on November 10th.

The government should listen to the 50,000 Indians who attended the 25 November rally as a desperate cry for help and not as an uprising that must be put down. The time has come for national reconciliation and not confrontation between the government with the marginalized, dispossessed and displaced Malaysians from all communities, particularly the Indian community.
 

(06/12/2007)


* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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