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Malaysia releases 10 Hindu rights activists

Malaysia releases 10 Hindu rights activists

Malaysian police released 10 Hindu rights activists on "humanitarian grounds" yesterday after they were arrested last week for demonstrating outside the prime minister's office.
The eight men and two women from the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) were freed on 1,000 ringgit (US$279) bail each ahead of today's Hindu Diwali festival of lights celebrations, state Bernama news agency said.
They will have to report back to police on November 25 and their case was still being investigated.
Police said they were released to enable them to celebrate Diwali, the New Straits Times reported in its online newspaper yesterday.
"Although the police, under the law, could extend their remand orders to facilitate investigations, on humanitarian ground they were released to enable them to celebrate the festive occasion," the spokesman said.
Hindraf, which represents Malaysia's ethnic Indian minority, has been declared illegal by the government which found it "posed a threat to public order and morality."
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar has warned legal action will be taken against any group involved with the movement.
Hindraf chairman Waytha Moorthy, who fled to Britain before the group's leadership was rounded up last year, vowed the movement would continue to fight for the rights of Hindus.
Hindraf angered the government last November by mounting a mass rally alleging discrimination against ethnic Indians, in a country dominated by Muslim Malays.
Five leaders are being held under the draconian Internal Security Act which allows for renewable two-year periods of detention without trial.
Last Thursday 11 of them had gathered outside Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's office to call for the release of their five leaders before Diwali.


Updated : 2021-04-21 20:20 GMT+08:00