Saturday, February 9, 2008

End ethnic 'apartheid' in Malaysia: rally in Los Angeles, USA on Feb. 16, 2008

February 9th, 2008 by Mahendran
Rally Opposing Ethnic “Apartheid” in Malaysia Gains Support of Hindu American Foundation


For Media Inquiries contact:
Ishani Chowdhury
Hindu American Foundation
Office: 301.770.7835

FREMONT, CA, USA (February 8, 2008) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a U.S. based human rights group, threw its support behind a rally planned to take place in front of the Malaysian Consulate in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, February 16, 2008. The rally, organized by American Hindus with familial ties to Malaysia, is to support human rights in Malaysia.

The organizers are calling for an end to the apartheid policies of the Malaysian government that favor ethnic Malay Muslims over other ethnic groups. The rally will focus attention on five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) that have been jailed under emergency laws considered draconian by most human rights observers. The five were jailed after they led a non-violent protest in the nation’s capital in late November. HAF had been in touch with some of these leaders prior to their arrest, but they have been prevented from communicating with supporters since their incarceration.

“Current Malaysian policies effectively discriminate against Malaysian Hindus of Indian ethnicity, who are the poorest ethnic group in Malaysia–we want equality and dignity!” said Bhuvan Govindasamy, the main organizer of this rally. “Malaysian Hindus have been opposing the insidious violation of their rights for many years now, but the latest spate of Hindu temple demolition by the government, and the arrest of the five HINDRAF leaders are only the latest miscarriages of justice.”

The Hindu American Foundation launched a recent campaign to support the Hindu protests in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, and previously released several statements calling for an end to the destruction of Hindu temples and for the protection of human rights of Malaysian Hindus. The foundation’s most recent annual human rights report entitled, “Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2006,” devoted an entire section highlighting violations of human rights of Malaysian Hindus.

“The jailing of the ‘HINDRAF five’ without any charge or hearing using extra-constitutional powers is not something we expect in a civilized country, and our concerns as to their treatment is growing as reports of their solitary confinement, psychological abuse and failing health trickle out,” said Mihir Meghani, M.D., President of HAF. “The Malaysian government must understand that the world is watching and tepid actions by the government to gloss over the very real issues Malaysian Hindus are facing will not suffice.”

Waytha Moorthy, principal leader of HINDRAF, was the first to be arrested during government sweeps after the rally, but left the country when he was briefly released. He is waging an international campaign to bring global attention to Malaysian atrocities and is currently in London. He is in close communication with the HAF and is supporting the Bay Area rally. He expressed concern that the Malaysian government’s recent suggestion that it understands the concerns of Malaysian Indians and supports improving the rights situation is really an effort to distract global attention when it is needed most.

“It makes no sense that when the Malaysian Prime Minister acknowledges the veracity of the neglect of Malaysian Indians, he sees it fit to imprison the very five individuals who conveyed that message to the nation,” said Moorthy. “HINDRAF leaders were at all times propagating peaceful democratic rights as enshrined under the Federal Constitution and had been raising the issue of oppression suppression and marginalization of the Indian community–their arrest was ludicrous and does not augur well for a democratic and civil society.”

The peaceful rally will take place between 10am and 2pm on Saturday, February 16,2008 in front of the Consulate of Malaysia, 550 South Hope Street, Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

For more information, please contact Bhuvan Govindasamy: or by phone at 1-949-373-6317

HAF’s Malaysia Policy Brief may be viewed at

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism. Contact HAF at 1-301-770-7835 or on the web at

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