Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reflection on Malaysian Indians' Roses Campaign 16 Feb

By JD Kumar of Makkal Sakti

JD says: This morning at 8.00pm B.Mahendran (Bolehland), Raaja (Raajarox) and I left my house and headed towards the DBKL building at Jalan Raja Laut to meet up with Seelan (Singapore) for the Campaign of Roses gathering.

The roses were to be handed by children to the Prime Minister at the Parliament House. However this was not possible as the police had cordoned off the entire area. It was decided that the handing over of roses would be done at the Suhakam office which is near the DBKL building.

As the crowd began to gather, even though they were well behaved and civilized the police open fire with numerous rounds of tear gas and dye laced water on everyone. It was a good think that the leaders were able to anticipate that the police were going to react and asked that the children be quickly taken away from the area.

Seelan was sprayed and had to change his shirt as it was soiled by the dye, his hands too were all green from it. We then proceeded to the Majid Jamek LRT area as we received SMS that the group was gathering at Dataran Merdeka.

As the Dataran Merdeka area was blocked by FRU we had to make do of being around the LRT area. I saw the FRU and plain clothed police behaving very aggressively and abusively toward any Malaysian Indian standing around the area.

They were targeting individuals for arrest and had arrested a number of them. I personally saw two policemen push a man who was in an orange ‘MAKKAL SAKTI’ t-shirt on to the road and handcuffing him when he wasn’t even resisting. They treated him worst then an animal, at that point I thought to myself as Malaysian Indians this is the kind of respect we have in this country that we call home. In their eyes we are equal or worst then animals.

At that moment, a plain clothed policeman was shouting to disperse and moving fast towards me. I immediately asked Raaja to move forward and turned around to get Mahendran to follow us. It was not to be as I saw two policemen grab Mahendran and dragged him away from us.

Raaja and I stayed in contact with Mahendran thru SMS and learned that he was being taken to PULAPOL(Police Training Centre). I immediately contacted lawyer Mohan who told me that legal counsels are being sent to PULAPOL to see to the legal needs of those arrested.

Knowing that was all we could do for Mahendran for the time being, Raaja and I made our way to Court Pillayar Temple in the Pudu Raya area as we heard that the crowd was gathering there. When we arrived there, the crowd of around 1000 was shouting “Hindraf Valga” “Makkal Sakti Valga” when two trucks of FRU personnel arrived at the scene. There was a stand off between the crowd and the police for around an hour where a few Hindraf leaders gave some speech on the current situation and requested that we continue the struggle and not give it up for any reason until our demands are met. Everyone was asked to disperse in an orderly fashion to which everyone complied.

I seriously feel that the government is being intolerant and extremely harsh by using unnecessary force from the police when we can clearly see that the Malaysian Indians were totally non violent in requesting for our rights. Would it hurt to talk to us nicely and hear our grouses? We were loyal to the BN government for years, is this how we are repaid for our loyalty? The BN government failed to realize that as a race the Malaysian Indians are the most loyal to them without asking for much in return.

As Raaja and I were leaving the area, I met Carol who has been a reader of my blog and who has kept me informed of various Hindraf activities. She was with her mother and I was so proud to see their commitment towards the Malaysian Indian cause. She introduced me to her brother who told me that they would be going to the Lock up Kuala Lumpur (former Pudu Jail) to protest the arrest of some group leaders. It is Malaysian Indians like these that give us hope for a brighter future.

When we arrived the Lock Up Kuala Lumpur area we found it totally secured by FRU personnel and it was then that I was informed by Carol that it would be better for us to move to PULAPOL to give support to all those who were arrested. We informed Seelan to meet us there and took a cab to PULAPOL.

We checked with Mahendran and he informed us that he is being made to wait for statements to be taken and it would take sometime and we assured him that we and many others are waiting outside.

I noticed buses loaded with Malaysian Indian passengers being driven into PULAPOL compound to have their particulars and statements recorded as to why they are in Kuala Lumpur. What kind of nonsense is this in a supposedly democratic country like Malaysia? This is a blatant disregard of Human Rights and it is a shame that Malaysia is a country in the United Nations that endorsed The Human Rights Charter.

While waiting for Mahendran to be released we walked over to the Medan Selera opposite PULAPOL for a drink and were informed the Jayathas was just arrested there as he sat down for a drink. We then joined a number of Malaysian Indians who were there to give support.

I was very pleased to have met these people who showed that all of us feel discriminated in our own country and that we are not treated fairly even though we have contributed so much in building this nation. Everyone I spoke to said they are standing up today so that our coming generations can have a better future. This is the true problem that the BN government should address instead of trying to squash the uprising as illegal and criminal.

I felt very emotional to know and see that we Malaysian Indians are more so united then we have ever been before and sincerely one can feel the difference walking anywhere these days.
Malaysian Indians acknowledge each other better and are much more willing to lend a helping hand to each other. The spirit of solidarity has begun. We achieved this without any government program or MIC propaganda, this came from our hearts and souls.

We remain there talking to people who came and went until Mahendran was released at 5.45pm. Everyone had a long and tiring day and had to part in our separate ways. I said my goodbyes to Mahendran, Raaja, Seelan and his friend before making my way home.

Even though it was a harrowing day and I was really tired it felt good to know that by standing up today maybe one day my child and her child will benefit from all this.

To all the new friends that I met and for all the conversations and ideas that we shared I thank you for having the mind set that we can all make a change for the better if we are united in our stand.

To my new brothers and sister Kartik,Suresh,Mohan,Kannan,Raja Bt.Caves,Sakthi,Ashok and Carol a big thank you from me to all of you for having the courage to stand up and make your voices heard. I hope to see all of you again real soon.

Until then Valga Makkal Sakti!

Makkal Sakti