Published: Friday May 8, 2009 MYT 12:59:00 PM
Updated: Friday May 8, 2009 MYT 2:48:47 PM
Hindraf leaders to be released from ISA (Update)
By DHARMENDER SINGH and WANI MUTHIAH
PUTRAJAYA: The three remaining leaders from the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) who are being detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) will be released soon.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the three were M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar and K. Vasantha Kumar.
He added he would sign the documents on Friday.
They are among 13 ISA detainees who are due to be freed, in addition to the 13 who were released in April.
They include six Malaysians, two Indonesians and five Filipinos.
The other three Malaysians are Zulkepli Marzuki, Jeknal Adil and Adzmi Pindatun while the Indonesians are Zainun Rasyhid and Aboud Ghafar Shahril.
The Filipinos as Sufian Salih, Hasim Talib, Abdul Jamal Azahari, Yusof Mohd Salam and Husin Alih.
“They should be released within the next two or three days,” he told reporters on Friday after chairing a post-Cabinet meeting at his ministry.
He added the release of the three Hindraf leaders was not politically motivated.
When he became prime minister in April, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak ordered the release of 13 ISA detainees, including Hindraf leaders V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengadharan.
In an immediate response, MIC Youth said it welcomed the decision to release the 13 detainees, including the Hindraf leaders.
Its coordinator T. Mohan said the youth wing hoped that the detention of the five, which he believes led to the Indians throwing their support behind the Opposition in the March 2008 general election, would be forgotten.
“We sincerely hope that the Indians would return en masse to support MIC, the sole Indian representative in the Barisan Nasional coalition.
“Their continued detention was a stumbling block towards MIC reaching out to the Indians,” he claimed.
He said MIC Youth would “go to the ground to publicise the efforts of the Najib government which has been proactive to the needs of the Indian community.”
Speechless with joy
Vasantha Kumar’s wife was speechless when told that her husband would be released soon.
It took a few minutes for K. Vickneswary to finally realise that her husband would soon be home.
“My family’s 17 months of hell is finally coming to an end,” said the mother of two.
Vickneswary said she would prepare Vasantha Kumar’s favourite dishes to welcome him home.
“He loves my cooking and I haven’t been cooking at all since his detention.
“I am going to go back to preparing food for my family, now that he’s finally being returned to us,” said Vickneswary in KLANG.
She said the timing was also perfect as the school holidays were around the corner.
“Our daughters, who are in Primary One and kindergarten, will have the time to catch up with their father,” she added.
She thanked the new administration for releasing her husband and the others from the ISA.
Uthayakumar’s fiancée S. Indradevi said she was very happy and excited that he would finally be out.
She also thanked the Makkal Sakthi movement which had stood by her and Uthayakumar’s family during their dark days.
Meanwhile, Uthayakumar’s brother and Hindraf chairman Waythamoorthy said he was happy with the release but added that the rest of the ISA detainees must also be released.
“Besides releasing all ISA detainees, the Government must also close down the Kamunting detention centre as well as abolish the ISA.
“This would be indicative that the new prime minister is truly serious about reforming the country,” said Waythamoorthy from London.
Waythamoorthy also added that it was unclear if the Hindraf lawyers were released unconditionally.