Thursday, December 13, 2007

Uthayakumar's parting message

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal adviser P Uthayakumar saw it coming - that he would be arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA), a tough law which allows detention without trial. In a video message recorded two weeks ago, Uthayakumar called on Hindraf supporters to continue the struggle despite should he be detained under ISA. “We knew what we were getting into from the beginning of our struggle. We knew this can happen to us. “We’ve come a long way - we’re fighting a just cause (and for) justice by using peaceful means to succeed,” he said. “By arresting us under the ISA, the issue of the marginalisation and the permanent colonialisation of Indians in Malaysia will take a higher profile. “We must look at it positively because that way we (can) get the government and international attention.” The video was recorded on Nov 29 in Kuala Lumpur High Court - the day when Uthayakumar applied for a revision of the restraining order obtained by the police against the mammoth Hindraf rally. Today, Uthayakumar and four others - lawyers M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau and organising secretary T Vasantha Kumar - were arrested under Section 8(1) of the ISA. In a rare move, the five were sent straight to the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping, Perak, to be detained for two years, without undergoing the usual 60-day investigation period.

Link to terrorist groups

According to inspector-general of police Musa Hassan, the ISA arrests were made against the five for carrying out activities that threaten national security. The charismatic activist had been expecting the ISA arrest after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi threatened to use the security law against Hindraf leaders. Last week, Musa claimed that Hindraf was linked to terrorist groups and was active in fanning racial sentiments among the Indian community by stirring up their anger and arousing hatred against the government. Uthayakumar, who said he had no regrets, added that the sacrifice he had made for the struggle was worth it. “If that means we have go into ISA for the betterment of the Indians, for them to be treated with dignity and for them to be respected as human beings and as Malaysian citizens [...] then so be it,” he asserted. The jovial lawyer ended the video with a smile and waved goodbye - an image of Uthayakumar which many will not be seeing for a while.

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