`Participants of Hindraf`s demonstration to face prosecution`

Last Updated: Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 22:29

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police on Saturday said
it would take legal action against anyone attending a
gathering sponsored by outlawed ethnic Indian group Hindraf,
which has called a demonstration here tomorrow to seek
withdrawal of a novel from school curriculum.

The police had rejected an application by Hindu Rights
Action Force - Hindraf - to hold the gathering on the grounds
that it would jeopardise public order.

Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar said no permit
had been issued for the gathering, and anyone attending it
would be breaking the law.
The novel, "Interlok", came under criticism following
the Education Ministry`s decision to use it as a literature
text, with several academics and the Malaysian Indian
Congress, the country`s largest ethnic Indian political party,
claiming that it contained words sensitive to the Indian
community.

The use of the word "pariah" in the novel has been
objected to by the community members who feel it connotes
caste system which they say is not found among ethnic Indians
here.

Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said
he had directed Ismail to personally monitor the situation and
take firm action if Hindraf created trouble.
"He will be responsible for ensuring that the illegal
organisation does not jeopardise the (security) situation," he
told reporters.

However, the organisers who are connected to Hindraf,
were expected to go ahead with the gathering, Star online
said.

The gathering was to take place outside the iconic
Petronas twin towers, once the tallest building in the world.

Ismail said such a gathering would adversely affect
security and disrupt public order, especially if it were held
at a place like the twin towers where many people converged
during weekends.

Ismail said incitement and extremist demands could
cause rifts among communities and arouse hatred for one
another. He said there should be early education on the need
for tolerance and mutual respect in building a nation.

According to the home minister, the organisers were
trying to create an atmosphere that was being witnessed in the
Middle East, but noted that Malaysia was a different situation
altogether, and they were not getting the response they
wanted.

"We know their intentions, we know that certain
quarters are trying to bring about sentiments of the kind we
see in the Middle East. But the situation here is different
and it is not heading in that direction," he was quoted by
national news agency Bernama as saying.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 22:29

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