Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Vell Paari: Deaths in police custody to be raised in Cabinet

The issue of deaths in police custody would be raised by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan in Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, said MIC strategic director S Vell Paari (pic)on Tuesday.

He said Low had given the assurance following a meeting with representatives of Indian based Non Governmental Organisations at his office in Putrajaya.

Among the Indian NGOs who attended the meeting, initiated by Pemandu director D. Ravindran were Malaysian Indian Progressive Association, Warga AMAN, Respect All Religions and Race, Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisations, People's Welfare and Rights Association and several others.

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The meeting was initiated after the Indian NGOs and Vell Paari planned for a protest against the deaths in police custody.

There have been eight deaths in police custody this year, including the latest case of 42-year-old P. Karuna Nithi at the Tampin police station last Saturday.

Two other recent deaths include N. Dharmendra 32, who died in Kuala Lumpur on May 21, while R.James Ramesh 40, died in Penang on May 26.

Vell Paari said the death custody issue, which has irked the Indian community, was discussed at great length at the meeting.

“The people are unhappy and angry over this issue and want to see actions taken.

“They want a firm action taken by charging the policemen involved to show the seriousness of the government' he said.

He said they made it clear that the death custody issue was not an Indian issue but was also a national issue.

Vell Paari said that he would also ask the two MIC ministers, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G Palanivel and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam to speak on the issue in the Cabinet.

Federation of Malaysian Indian NGOs (Prima) president A Rajaretinam said the NGOs wants to assist the Government to overcome the issue while S Kannan of Respect All Religions and Race said actions are taken very fast in cases against the people but very slow when it involves the police force.

People's Welfare and Rights Association president S Gobi Krishnan said based on police statistics, there were deaths of 64 Malays, 30 Chinese and 28 Indians in police custody between 2000 and 2010.

“There seems to be more cases involving Indians for the past 2 years. The main issue is that the police force is given too much of power.

“It is baffling that the police is not willing to let themselves be investigated when even the people can be investigated and actions taken if there is a breach of law,” he said.

He suggested that a representative of the NGOs should be included in the committee headed by the Inspector General of Police to probe custody deaths to give some confidence to the people.

Vell Paari said the Indian NGOs have decided to postpone the street rally to protest the custody deaths pending response from Low and the Government.

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