About 10,000 Hindu temples have been demolished in Malaysia since its independence from the UK 50 years ago, P Waytha Moorthy, Chairman of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) in Malaysia told Leaders of Opposition L K Advani and Jaswant Singh in New Delhi on Thurday.
Apprising them of the plight of the “persecuted” Hindu community in his country, he said most of these temples existed from the British colonial days and were as old as 150 years. “Hindus are stripped of their dignity and self-respect by this act” by the vindictive manner in which their temples have been razed to the ground.
There has been a steady attempt to “Islamise” Malaysia ’s multi-faith population (in which Muslims constitute 55%). The Shariah Court ’s rulings are being made binding on non-Muslims, especially in matters of inter-faith marriages and the religious identity of children, he said.
Later, the BJP parliamentary party issued a statement condemning the Malaysian government’s policy of subjecting the country’s Hindu community in particular, and People of Indian Origin (PIOs) in general, to discrimination, injustice and persecution.
The issue also figured when Singapore ’s elder statesman and former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew called on Advani. Lee not only fully shared his concern but also said, “discrimination on religious grounds in Malaysia affects not merely the Hindus. All the non-Muslim communities in Malaysia – Buddhists, Taoists and Christians – are getting worried.”
According to Waytha Moorthy, nearly 70% of the PIO population in Malaysia , which has been living in that country for over 200 years, remain manual labourers, living on daily wages. This underclass remains oppressed and suppressed, with the government making no special budgetary provision for their economic and educational advancement.
Waytha Moorthy said the number of Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam schools has dwindled drastically, even though the population has increased manifold. “The government’s neglect of the educational needs of the Indian community is deliberate, since the authorities want to cut off the PIOs’ cultural and spiritual heritage.”
Moorthy, who is a leading lawyer, briefed Advani and Jaswant Singh about the Mayasian government’s repressive crackdown of the peaceful, legitimate and democratic protests by the Hindus. He said the Hindus in Malaysia have always been loyal, law-abiding and peaceful citizens.
“Three lawyers involved in taking up the cases of HINDRAF and its supporters have been charged with sedition for speaking the truth. Thirty-one participants in the recent massive protest rally organized by HINDRAF have been falsely charged with murder under a law that denies them bail. All this is being done to instill fear among the Hindus, so that they will not come out again to protest,” Moorthy said.
The BJP statement said the party believes that India has a moral obligation to take up the case of injustice and persecution of Malaysian Hindus and PIOs with the authorities in Kuala Lumpur. “The UPA government cannot shirk from this responsibility either out of its commitment to anti-Hindu pseudo-secularism or under the pretext that this is an internal matter of Malaysia."