From Day 1 kaytee had and still is supporting Hindraf and its campaign to improve the lamentable lot of the Indian Malaysians.
I have cried for our Indians in:
(1) The Toddy Syndrome and
(2) Malaysia’s Economic Pariahs
I was pissed off with their lamentable lack of meaningful political leadership which I blasted in 'Ketupat in Kashmir' - An MGR Extravaganza.
I even posted a poem on the Hindraf rally titled (no surprise) 25 November 2007.
However, it was with some mixed feelings, that of sadness and annoyance, when I read Malaysiakini articles Child, mother freed, 10 remanded and Shanti: I stayed in police station in protest.
We need to start off this discussion with the fact that the Home Ministry has banned Hindraf.
No doubt the Hindraf leadership made some rather extravagant allegations in their grievances, but the government should have recognized that those were the explosive expressions of a 5-decade old frustration, despair and unmitigated sufferings of a marginalised people.
Under such circumstances, the authorities ought to allow for some latitude in Hindraf’s cries of despair and not overreact by using the ISA to detain the Hindraf leadership, or (recently) ban the movement.
In becoming the political ostrich by ignoring the genuine grievances of a Malaysian community, and worse, sweeping the issues under the carpet through draconian punitive measures instead of working out real programs to mitigate the wrongs of the past, the UMNO-led government has failed in its so-called inclusive leadership.
Needless to say, with such a harsh and disdainful example set by the nation’s political leadership, it was hardly surprising that the police had overreacted on Thursday when they arrested 11 Hindraf people who attempted to submit a letter to the PM at his office in Putrajaya.
Why couldn’t they exercise a bit of judgement or commonsense by receiving the letter on behalf of the PM, and then sending those poeple home?
That was a rhetorical question as I have no doubt they were faithfully subscribing to the Minister’s pronouncement of Hindraf as a banned organization. As Malaysiakini reported, the Home Ministry said the group was detained for "taking part in an organisation that has been banned under Section 48 of the Societies act".
Our police lack that independence (of judgement and action) and commonsense which we admire in police forces of other more democratic nations.
But the infamy of the police action was to have included among the arrested group a 6-year old sweetie, P Vwaishhnnavi, the niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar – see Malaysiakini Uthaya's niece, 11 others held.
‘Twas hardly surprising that the nation was shocked and riled by the dumbo-ness of the police in detaining a 6 year old. It was open slather as the condemnations against the ‘callous’ police assumed tsunamic proportions.
The police of course responded that they did not arrest Vwaishhnnavi but her mum. The 6-year old sweetie was merely in her mum’s care. OK, I believe the police.
But it did show our men in blue have not yet prepared for such a situation when they should have called upon the Welfare or Community Service people or even the girl’s relatives to look after Vwaishhnnavi, instead of allowing her to accompany Mum into the lockup ...
... but gnam gnam (precisely, exactly) what the Hindraf group would have wanted for assured sensational publicity. The young sweetie should never have been allowed to be detained.
On the other side of the coin, I deplore her mother’s irresponsibility in involving her young daughter in a situation which had led to the young girl’s de facto detention, by virtual of her wanting to stay naturally beside mum.
I recall in the PAS-PKR fuel protest rally last year, a PAS leader had also taken his daughter along in the march where the potential for confrontation with the dreaded FRU was very high …
… yet some parents had shown a certain callousness to their children’s welfare and/or irresponsibility by exploiting the young ones for political purposes ... but placing those children in unpleasant and even dangerous situations.
In Malaysiakini Shanti: I stayed in police station in protest the lil’ sweetie’s mum K Shanti, who is also wife of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy, revealed her political agenda by insisting on remaining in the Putrajaya district police lockup in protest of the detention of her 10 friends and relatives.
I need to ask: did the young sweetie also remain behind together with mum?
Look, this grandstanding nonsense which has unfairly and unnecessarily disadvantaged and no doubt traumatised a 6-year old sweetie is not the way to appeal to the PM with a so-called Deepavali invitation, where Vwaishhnnavi promised to be waiting with flowers and cakes for AAB.
The mum has lost the plot.
Given this regrettable happenings, I recommend you read what Josh Hong, a Malaysiakini columnist, wrote in his article Indian revolt: The morning after, where he provided good advice to Hindraf leaders as follows:
The message sent through the extraordinarily successful rally last Sunday was too loud and too clear to fall on deaf ears.
As always, the spirit of reason must prevail despite the lingering euphoria. The onus is now on every concerned citizen and group to tie the appeals of the Indians into the expectations and demands of other Malaysians so as to de-racialise and de-religionise the whole thing.
Meanwhile, Hindraf leaders must do more to convince the public that they are not doing this with a vengeance, but are ready to walk and fight alongside just-minded Malaysians of all ethnicity, failing which they will only play into the hands of the ruling coalition and show themselves to be a fringe group of ethnic fanatics bent on havoc and destruction. Should this be the case, my Indian friends will again end up the ultimate losers in a conspiracy brilliantly executed by extremists of all sides.
Josh Hong’s advice becomes even more relevant today.