PUTRAJAYA, Dec 17 (Bernama) -- MIC today thanked the government over the acquittal and discharge of 31 people charged with attempting to murder a police officer during an illegal assembly in front of the Sri Subramaniar temple in Batu Caves, near here, on Nov 25.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had shown compassion towards the families of those detained by asking Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to consider their appeals.
"MIC appreciates efforts by the government to lighten the burden of the families by showing its concern and being accountable to all races," he said in a statement here today.
The MIC president said he was also happy because the court had acquitted and discharged many of them of all charges while the rest were released on bail.
"The Barisan Nasional government has shown compassion towards the sufferings and anguish of the families and parents of those detained. Those involved should return to society and live as responsible and law-abiding citizens.
"MIC will continue to safeguard the interests of the Indian community to ensure a better future for them," said Samy Vellu who is also the Works Minister.
Special meet: Hindu Sangam bares it all to PMDec 17, 07 3:22pm
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was told to focus on the issues affecting the Indian community rather than attacking supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).
This was among the points driven home by Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president A Vaithilingam during the special meeting between Indian non-governmental organisations and the premier on Friday.
Vaithilingam also pointed out that the large turnout at the Nov 25 rally organised by Hindraf proved that the Indian community is facing serious problems.
In a statement today, MHS general secretary Dr K Balakrishnan quoted Vaithilingam as saying in his speech during the meet:
“Hindraf is the result of many serious issues including the M Moorthy case and a series of cases where Hindu bodies were buried by Islamic departments as well as the unnecessary cruel demolitions of several Hindu temples.”
He said the huge response to the rally was probably the result of many social problems faced by the Indian community especially when urbanisation brought the community out of rural areas.
Balakrishnan said the MHS president had appealed to the prime minister to consider these issues rather than hitting out at Hindraf supporters.
Apart from this, Vaithilingam also appealed to the prime minister to seriously consider the release of the five Hindraf leaders held under the Internal Security Act and for them to be charged in court.
“Holding them under ISA is improper of a democratic country and will affect the country's image,” he was quoted as saying.
Vaithilingam also urged the prime minister to reconsider the attempted murder charge against the 31 persons held without bail as many of them were merely bystanders at Batu Caves.
"MHS finds it difficult to believe that these people had intentions to murder and is pleased that the prime minister said he would speak to the attorney-general."
The attempted murder charge against the 31 were dropped this morning.
Meanwhile, Balakrishnan said Vaithilingam also called on the prime minister to stop all temple demolitions and to recognise all temples as official temples.
He also urged the prime minister to look into laws which do not protect wives of men who convert to Islam.
He requested that the prime minister asks the attorney-general to consider these issues which have been going on for too long without any proper results.
Vaithilingam also asked for more non-Malay staff to be employed in all government departments, noting that when he entered the Prime Minister's Department to attend the meeting, almost all the staff there were of one race only.
Balakrishnan said Vaithilingam has been approached by numerous Indian-based NGOs to bring up problems of the Indian community with the prime minister.
He agreed to be the coordinator of a memorandum to be submitted to the prime minister for consideration in a few weeks.
It initially started off with 48 Indian-based NGOs but as of today it has risen to more than 70 NGOs, said Balakrishnan.
The MHS president has also expressed hope that all the NGOs cooperate with the prime minister in implementing projects to uplift the community's standard of living.
He has also stressed the need for national unity amongst people of different races and religions, said Balakrishnan.