------- from the Star
KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has urged the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders who are being detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
He said two of the leaders -- R. Kenghadaran, 40, who is very sick and M. Manoharan, 46, who had won the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor on a DAP ticket on March 8 -- should be freed sooner.
He said another two, V. Ganabatirau, 34, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, had not been very much involved in the rally organised by Hindraf in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 last year.
The fifth leader being detained under the ISA is P. Uthayakumar.
Speaking to reporters after opening a workshop on "Rebranding the MIC" here Sunday, Samy Vellu said the wives of Kenghadaran and Manoharan had approached him for his assistance.
"I have decided to raise it with the government. I will raise it (the issue of their release) with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after he returns from Sabah.
"I will also meet Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan. I have already made some moves on this earlier but I did not tell anyone. I will now make a firm move to see what can be done by the government with regard to their plight," Samy Vellu claimed.
He said Ganabatirau, and Vasantha Kumar were "not very much involved (in the rally), so the government has to make a decision."
Samy Vellu claimed that this was not a publicity stunt or a move to win back Indian support for the party.
"This is done in fairness, sympathy and, also, we feel that we as Indians have to do something about it. It is not a publicity stunt," he said.
Samy Vellu said that he was harshly criticised by certain people when he spoke to Abdullah and the Attorney General about reducing the attempted murder charges against the 31 people detained during the Hindraf rally, but he had continued to assist them.