Thursday, January 24, 2008

130 Malaysians on ISA Hunger Strike

Photograph from Makkal Osai, Jan 21, 08
Article from, Jan 23, 08

The hunger strike is on. It is aimed at seeking the release of Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees and to demand for the draconian act to be abolished.

More than 130 people throughout the country are said to have gone on a week-long hunger strike for the purpose.

Among them are the five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) currently detained under the ISA in Kamunting, Perak.

They were joined by at least 21 people at a temple in Ipoh, while 108 others were reported to have started their hunger strike at the Sri Subramaniam temple at Port Klang, Selangor.

Latest developments, however, are rather sketchy. According to several Hindraf sources, hunger strikes have also been launched at a temple in Petaling Jaya as well as in Penang.

The strike, said one Hindraf supporter who identified herself only as ‘Suzy’, is aimed particularly at a Jan 24 hearing where the habeas corpus application of the ‘Hindraf 5' against their ISA detention would be heard.

Depending on how things turn out, however, the hunger strike may go on until Jan 28, said Suzy.

“During that time, they will only drink water every hour or so,” she told Malaysiakini when contacted. She also said many more were expected to join those already on the hunger strike.

Earlier today, Hindraf’s national coordinator RS Tharendran expressed his concern regarding the health of one of the detained Hindraf leaders - P Uthayakumar - who is a diabetic but has also gone on the hunger strike.

Appeal to Pak Lah

He appealed to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - as the Internal Security Minister he had signed the orders for the leaders’ detention - to release them.

The ISA provides for indefinite detention without trial.

Hindraf hopes Abdullah “will make the effort on humanitarian grounds to release them,” said Tharendran in Putrajaya after submitting a letter to the Prime Minister’s office written by Uthayakumar’s five-year-old niece Vwaishhnnavi.

Vwaishhnnavi is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson Waythamoorthy, who is currently in the UK to garner international support for the group’s cause.

Abdullah will be liable if anything untoward happens to Uthayakumar, said Tharendran.

Uthayakumar was placed under ISA along with Hindraf leaders M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasantha Kumar after the government accused them of threatening national security.

Denying the accusation, the leaders have charged the government of seeking merely to suppress their efforts for equal rights and better treatment for the Indian community.

On Nov 25 last year, Hindraf held a rally in Kuala Lumpur that saw about 30,000 Indians gathering on the streets to protest their marginalisation and discrimination.


Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

Remember when you fast
Hold fast to the cause
Don't even drink water too fast
Don't worry about time going too slowly or fast

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng-250108
Fri. 25th Jan. 2008.