Malaysia was accused Thursday of aggravating race relations by banning a Hindu rights group whose leaders are being held without trial.
The Hindu Rights Action Force (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".
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 the disadvantaged community.
"Hindraf will not flinch with these threats and will continue its struggle," he said in a statement.
The government "enjoys demonising and bullying us on the pretext of law, public order, national security, when all we are fighting for is to address the true and real condition of the downtrodden Malaysian Indians," he said.
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, president of the national human rights society Suhakam, said the ban was unnecessary and showed a lack of sensitivity to the minority community which shunned the government in March elections.
"Hindraf is more a wave of consciousness than an organisation and in declaring it illegal the government has possibly alienated the Indian community even more," he told AFP.
"The cause of marginalisation is a real one and if you look at Hindraf activities so far, there has been no violence and none of their activities can be described as a threat to security with the exception of last year's demonstrations."
Friday, October 17, 2008
Gov. condemned over ban of HINDRAF
Agence France-Presse - 10/16/2008 8:51 AM GMT