The six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar was with 11 people arrested when they attempted to submit a letter at Prime Minister Department’s office in Putrajaya today.
P Vwaishhnnavi (right) is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy who is currently in self-imposed exile in London. Her mother K Shanti was among those arrested.
Police Watch Malaysia coordinator S Jayathas, who was also held, claimed that they had been told that they were part of an illegal assembly for having gathered near the entrance of the building.
“We were trying to obtain permission from the security guards for Vwaishhnnavi to submit her letter. They said that we were from Hindraf, but we insisted that we were ‘concerned Indians’ who were accompanying Vwaishnnavi,” Jayathas when contacted.
They are currently at the Putrajaya district police headquarters, but police chief Abd Razak Abd Majid declined comment when contacted.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman confirmed the arrest of eight men and three women during the incident. He clarified that Vwaishhnnavi has not been arrested and is in her mother’s care.
He also said the 11 are being investigated under the Societies Act. (The Home Ministry had imposed a ban on Hindraf on Oct 15, declaring it an illegal grouping.)
Contacted on her handphone while waiting for police to record her statement, Shanti said the group had attempted to submit a handwritten letter calling on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to release all those detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) .
“The appeal letter (in Vwaishhnnavi’s handwriting) asked the prime minister to release her uncle, (and other Hindraf leaders as well as) RPK (blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin), among other ISA detainees,” said Shanti.
“She said that Deepavali would not mean anything to her and all Malaysians, if they are not released.”
Shanti said the letter also included an invitation for Abdullah to attend the family’s ‘open house’ in conjunction with Deepavali.
“(Vwaishhnnavi) wrote that she would be waiting with flowers and cakes,” she added.
Contacted in London by phone, Waythamoorthy expressed outrage that his daughter, wife and supporters had been picked up by police.
“It’s ridiculous to arrest [sic] a child who has come to deliver a Deepavali card and a letter to the PM asking him to release all ISA detainees,” said an obviously incensed Waythamoorthy.
“This only shows that the PM is not telling the truth when he said he is a PM for everyone. He is not!”
On Dec 13 last year, five Hindraf leaders – Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasantha Kumar – were slapped with a two-year detention order under the ISA. They are being held at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.
Meanwhile, about a small crowd of about 30 people had gathered outside the Putrajaya police headquarters from 7pm to find out the latest on the plight of those detained.
As of 11pm, all 11 and Vwaishhnnavi are still being held at the Putrajaya police station.