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“Charge them in court if there is evidence – Don’t use SOSMA” – Vigneswaran

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Kuala Lumpur – The President of MIC, Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran has expressed grave concern over the recent arrest of two DAP assemblymen – Gadek’s G. Saminathan and Seremban Jaya’s P. Gunasekaran and a number of individuals– over alleged links to the LTTE. The grave concern stems from two grim issues namely the alleged involvement by politicians in terrorism act and the way the issue had been handled if the allegation eventually remains mere allegation.

If there are prima facie evidence of their involvement in any way with any alleged terrorist activities that are detrimental to the nation’s security, Tan Sri Vigneswaran called for those remanded to be charged in court.

Refrain from using SOSMA

However he urged the authorities to refrain from continuing the investigation under SOSMA unless it is absolutely necessary given the gravity of the matter in hand.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was allegedly formed by Sri Lankan Tamils as an instinctive reaction to protect the minority Tamils from allegedly being killed, sexually abused, raped while tens of thousands of were being barricaded into concentration camps, while more than 200,000 allegedly propagated to have died from starvation. It was alleged to be a genocide and a colossal humanitarian tragedy. Against that backdrop the entire diaspora of Tamil worldwide sympathised with the Tamils who were the apparent victim of alleged genocide and held communal prayers and gatherings to pray for the safety of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

Consequently the sympathy led to showing support to LTTE. It must be noted the worldwide diaspora that sympathised with LTTE were not terrorists and did not support and fuel terrorism activities. They were merely showing support for a cause to bring an end to the sufferings of their fellow Tamils.

Can anyone be arrested for showing sympathy? Tan Sri Vigneswaran asked!

He further observed that the arrests has shocked the Indian community as the European Union’s top court kept Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on the EU terrorism blacklist in July 2017 and removed Sri Lankan separatist rebels, the Tamil Tigers. The court’s justification for the de-listing was EU’s failure to produce any evidence to show that there was a risk of the Tamil Tigers carrying out attacks after its military defeat in 2009.

The group has indeed, ceased to exist with the death of its leaders. Furthermore the civil war in Sri Lanka has ended and the very purpose why LTTE was formed has ceased to exist.

As such, it’s disturbing to base the arrests on allegations of resurrecting LTTE here. Why would they want to resurrect an entity without a purpose? He stresses that unless there is a very strong and credible evidence that shows resurrecting LTTE or similar movement is being planned for similar demands in Malaysia that may put the nation at peril, continued detention of the suspects is a cause for concern.

Tan Sri Vigneswaran also called for a thorough and fair investigation followed by prompt action to either charge them or release if there are no cogent evidence.

He further added that : Has the police in Malaysia have created awareness amongst the people on when would one who sympathises with an international minority agenda can cross over the line to committing a crime of supporting a terrorist group?

What are the elements that define mere show of sympathy as an act towards terrorism. Were the suspects arrested aware that their alleged acts tantamount to a crime being committed under terrorism law?

Tan Sri Vigneswaran added that when he was a Senator, he raised the issue on creating awareness among the Muslim youth on the danger of supporting ISIS and the line between showing support and committing a crime and prompted the government to declare and announce openly to the public which are the groups that were on terrorist list at international level so that the younger generations will not get involved with such groups.

He also said, In Malaysia, there are thousands who show clear and undivided support towards Kashmir separatist. Will they all be arrested for showing sympathy and support to a group that is classified as a terrorist by India and other parts of the world? If that is so, all Tamils in Malaysia must get arrested as they also show support to the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

Therefore, the dissemination of information to the public on right and wrongs of showing care and sympathy towards a group classified as terrorist but are on a particular crusade, is very crucial here. This will prevent unnecessary arrest.

Vigneswaran urged the police to come up with a comprehensive agenda on how such dissemination of information can be implemented at all levels.

Creating awareness is best prevention tool to ensure the innocent are not caught off guard for a terrorist act when showing sympathy.

These days, so many of our people who go overseas get tangled up in groups that launch war based on religion. Commendably, the police have brought them back home safely and have placed them in rehabilitation centers. It’s better to create awareness and prevent such incidents than to rehabilitate them for acts done in ignorance, he further said.

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