Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal adviser P Uthayakumar, currently detained under the Internal Security Act, has denied signing a document seeking the removal of the movement’s national coordinator.
“On Feb 14, I did not sign any document saying that Thanendran is not a coordinator of Hindraf as stated in media reports,” he said in a statement dated Feb 17 and which was released to Malaysiakini through his fiancé.
He also affirmed that Thanendran is still the coordinator of the movement.
On Feb 14, a document was circulated bearing the signatures of Uthayakumar and four other Hindraf leaders under ISA detention, stating that they had not appointed Thanendran to take over the reins in their absence. (The five are being detained at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.)
The two-page statement cited Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, V Ganabatirau, R Kenghadharan and T Vasantha Kumar as saying that they had not put Thanendran in charge.
Denying his involvement, however, Uthayakumar said his signature could have been forged by someone.
“A few (visitors for) Ganabatirau and Vasantha told me to sign an A4 paper containing the other signatures, but I refused to sign it. They later said it is just (for an) autograph,” he said.
“I believe my signature is forged and it is not my signature.”
Uthayakumar also provided a sample of his signature in his statement, which he believes is not the same as that in the Feb 14 statement.
His brother and Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoothy also rejected the contents of the Feb 14 document.
He said he has appointed a 10-member interim committee to run the day-to-day affairs of Hindraf and confirmed that Thanendran is the movement’s national coordinator.
"I believe this is a ploy by irresponsible individuals to tarnish Thanendran’s image," he said, expressing surprise that Uthayakumar would sign the document.
Thanendran also told Malaysiakini that the document was a move by the other four to destabilise Hindraf and isolate Uthayakumar.
Hindraf’s election appeal
In his statement Uthayakumar also stressed that opposition parties should not field non-Indian candidates in MIC-contested seats, or “Umno would be seen to be fairer to the Indians in terms of allocation of seats”.
Waythamoorthy, meanwhile, urged all opposition parties to state clearly in their manifesto that they will take up the predicament of the Indian Malaysian community.
“We also urge the opposition to allocate an equitable number of seats to ensure fair representation of Indians in both parliamentary and state seats,” he said.
He said that Hindraf will be able to channel the support it has received from the community to the opposition, if the parties are sincere in their commitment on achieving equal rights for all Malaysians.
Hindraf rose to national prominence after organising a rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25, amassing a crowd of 30,000 ethnic Indians to protest against ‘150 years of discrimination and marginalisation’ since colonial times.
The five Hindraf leaders were arrested under the ISA on Dec 13 on grounds that they are a threat to the national security.