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Went for holiday, landed in jail

world Updated: Apr 19, 2008 00:13 IST

A short holiday to Malaysia turned into a nightmare for three Indians who spent 18 days in detention despite having valid travel papers. They were nabbed for reasons not explained by authorities and on release, found their belongings and money missing.

K Meenakshi, 52, a farmer, Sheikh Rajendran, 40, a tailor and P Murugesan, 24, a carpenter, said they had been saving up for a long time to visit Malaysia.

All three were at the Selangor Mansion block of flats in Jalan Masjid India neighbourhood when members of a civil volunteer corps, Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia (Rela), conducted a raid on March 15. The Malaysian government formed Rela, which means volunteers of Malaysian people. Its main duty is to check the travel documents and immigration permits of foreigners in Malaysian cities, including tourists, visitors and migrants to reduce the increasing influx of illegal immigrants into Malaysia.

The group’s actions, that have caused harassment to many, have been criticised.

They spent 18 days in the Semenyih camp, which they described as the worst place that they had ever been. They were “rescued” when a Malaysian businessman came to the camp and negotiated for their release.

“I had about 2,500 renminbi (about $1,200) in the bag. The money and my return flight ticket were missing,” said Meenakshi.