Hindraf splinter group Malaysian Indian Voice (MIV) today held their first Hindraf-inspired rally, dubbed Indian Rights Action Force (Indraf) 2.0 in Brickfields today, with more than 1,000 packing a hall to voice support for Pakatan Rakyat.
Entitled ‘Unity Road with Pakatan Rakyat to Putrajaya’, the rally was co-organised by a coalition of pro-Pakatan groups and individuals, such as National Indians Action Team (Niat) chairperson Thasleem Mohamed and Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy under a newly-setup Indraf protem committee.
Pakatan bigwigs graced the event, that is believed to be Pakatan’s own way of attempting to replicate Hindu rights group Hindraf’s mass mobilisation of the Indian community in 2007.
The event began at about 3pm with the singing of the national anthem, while the cheering crowd waved flags of the Pakatan parties.
They also displayed banners with their 10-point demands, which among others read ‘Hindraf will never bury the voice of Indian unity’, ‘The government should plan and implement a comprehensive policy for retirees’, and 'The government should put in place relevant measures to preserve and develop Tamil schools, language and literature’.
The MIV leaders, many of whom are Pakatan members, heaped praises on the opposition pact in their speeches and repeatedly urged the attendees to support Pakatan.
MIV chairperson V Raidu (at podium), in his speech, commended Pakatan for successfully resolving a list of longstanding problems affecting the Indian community within four years of their administration in four states.
He also announced that the Selangor government has approved 120 sites for Indian temples.
“Let us be united to bring change and take over Putrajaya,” he said to a roar of applause.
In between relay of speeches by more than 10 speakers from Pakatan and MIV, some periods were devoted to the singing of a Tamil motivational song and the chanting of “Long live Pakatan”, “Long live Indraf”, “Long live MIV”.
Among the Pakatan leaders who attended the rally were opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu.
R Kengandharan, who was an Internal Security Act detainee under Hindraf, noted that a rightful government must provide appropriate affirmative aid to an underprivileged group, but that was not the case with the BN government.
“If you have four children in a family and one is handicapped, then extra attention must be given to the handicapped one,” he said.
He added that the Indian community has “wasted 55 years” with MIC and the time has come to clamour for change.
Meanwhile, Mohamad, or fondly known as Mat Sabu, in his speech accused the government of stirring up racial sentiments again as the general election looms.
He said the demonisation of Bersih’s Malay supporters as backing a Hindu woman is a clear instance that shows Umno cannot abandon racial politics.
“But this is not a racial issues, this is about people’s rights. We will not waver but continue to strive to change the politics of this country,” he said.
The three-hour rally concluded with a round of cheers for Pakatan and a replay of the motivational song.