Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My passport was revoked: Hindraf leader

My passport was revoked: Hindraf leader
19 May 2008, 1839 hrs

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Indian leader P Waytha Murthy claims that the government has revoked his passport despite it being valid till 2010.

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader insisted on Sunday that his Malaysian passport was revoked though the government stated otherwise.

Moorthy's travels to many countries including India to propagate the Hindraf's case has annoyed the government that says the organisation's activities 'destabilise' the ethnic balance.

"I am holding a Malaysian passport which is valid until 2010. But the fact remains that the Malaysian government has revoked my passport," the New Straits Times quoted Moorthy as saying.

Amnesty International's Washington-based Asia-Pacific advocacy director T Kumar has reportedly said that Moorthy had to put off talks with leaders of the US Congress and Amnesty in Washington because his passport had been cancelled.

Moorthy learnt about it when he returned to London from Geneva recently after talks with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"The British immigration authorities at Gatwick Airport (on April 21) told me my passport was cancelled," said Moorthy, who has been living in Britain since December.

He said he was given leave to enter and remain in Britain for six months on April 2 upon his return from India.

"It is a known fact that no country would admit a person into its territory without a six-month validity period on the passport. For that matter, Switzerland would not have admitted me into their country on April 17. Nor would any airline allow me to board the flight without the six-month validity period," he said.

Hindraf claims to speak for Malaysia's Tamil Hindus who came here during the British era. The body has alleged discrimination against the community in jobs and education and the demolition of many Hindu shrines in Malaysia.

Hindraf organised a protest rally last November that was forcibly dispersed. Five of its top organisers are since serving two year jail terms under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA).

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