KUALA LUMOUR, June 14 — Now that they have got the government’s attention the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) movement will be changing strategy.
The leader of the banned movement, P.Uthayakumar said the movement will adopt a less confrontational stance to get their message across.
He said Hindraf will use more peaceful and democratic means to bring changes for the Indian community.
“We will only use peaceful gathering or what the government term’s illegal assembly as a last resort.” he said during a phone interview with The Malaysian Insider.
However anyone who thinks Uthayakumar has been “tamed” or even rehabilitated by his stint in Kamunting under the Internal Security Act should think again.
His first words at the start of the interview were “I have no regrets”.
“We have achieved what we set out to do. Local Indian issues are now national issues.” he said defiantly.
Among them, the plight of Tamil schools, Hindu Temples and poverty among the community.
He said Hindraf will soon have a new platform to raise issues but declined to elaborate if it will be a new political party.
Uthayakumar said an announcement would be made on July 19.
In the meantime, he has been busy setting up his office in Bangsar which will be more of a service centre rather than a law firm.
“My first love was legal practice but I have lost interest because Umno does not follow the law or the constitution.”
He cited the government’s move to link Hindraf to the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) movement, to justify the detention of the movement’s leaders under the ISA as an example.
The mainstream media was used to paint a totally false picture of the movement before and after the arrest of Hindraf leaders on Dec 13, 2007, he claimed.
Detained with him were M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar, all who have since been released.
He said the government labelled them as terrorists without a shred of evidence and were now attempting to set aside his defamation suit against the authorities.
“How am I going to clear my name?” he asked, adding he had little faith in the judiciary which he described as subservient to Government.
While at the Kamunting detention centre in Perak, he learned how to read and write Tamil, which he could only speak previously.
Detainees also got to share copies of the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia.
From the newspapers he recorded 4,932 instances in 25 categories where Indians were left out from national development policies in Malaysia .
Uthayakumar said he kept his sanity by writing 11 diaries during 542 days in detention.
When asked about his “rehabilitation” under the ISA he retorted “What rehabilitation?”
He said rehabilitation is only for people who are wrong and he refused to attend classes conducted by the Special Branch and university professors.
Since his release after 542 days in detention in Kamunting, Uthayakumar joked that he has had to get used to being mobbed and even kissed on the cheeks by men.