29 January, 2008

British Hindus liken Malaysian government to Taliban

British Hindus are to hold a silent protest outside the office of the British premier this week to highlight the 'new lite-Taliban' policies of the Malaysian government, an umbrella group for Hindus said Tuesday.

The Hindu Council UK (HCUK) said Hindus would present a petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown Friday to protest the condition of Malaysian Hindus, 'who number two million and are suffering religious persecution' by the government in Kuala Lumpur.

It said Hindu temples have been razed and damaged in Malaysia, 'irrespective of their age' but added that the silent protest was against human rights violations of not only Hindus but also other religious minorities of Malaysia.

The issue hit the headlines in November last year when Malaysian police used violence to break up a march by Hindus in the capital Kuala Lumpur and arrested 31 protesters, five of whom, HCUK said, were still in detention.

The police action was criticised around the world.

Last month, members of the British parliament demanded that the Malaysian government scrap plans to demolish Hindu temples and to allow legitimate protests against it.

In a strongly worded statement, they also urged the British government to take up the matter on their behalf and 'make the strongest possible representation' to Kuala Lumpur.

HCUK general secretary Anil Bhanot, in a statement Friday, likened the Malaysian government's attitude to that of 'the Taliban ideology which destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas (in Afghanistan),' and said it needed to be 'challenged for re-education.'

'We appeal to world communities to help stop the lite-talibanisation of the Malaysia government through trade and other means,' Bhanot added.

Meanwhile,A candlelight vigil at Hindu temples to protest the detention of five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has been condemned by Malaysian minister of Indian origin S Samy Vellu.

The sentiments of two million-plus Hindus had been hurt by the "desecration of a place of worship", Works Minister Vellu said on Sunday.

"Hindus do not use candles in temples ... we use the kuttu vilaku (oil lamp). From the feedback I got, (other) Hindus are very unhappy over this," Vellu was quoted as saying.

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