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Banished NRI politician on hunger strike


Malaysian, December 19, 2005

A former Malaysian politician of Indian origin has been on a hunger strike for the past three weeks to protest against his exile to a remote province by authorities for suspected links with the underworld.

Balakrishnan Appala, a former branch leader of the Malaysian Indian Congress -- the country's largest ethnic Indian political party, is reported to be in a frail and weak condition as he has refused to eat for last three weeks.

The 36-year-old, who was sent to a remote area in Kelantan state in April under the country's emergency ordinance to deal with suspected drug traffickers and mafia activists, claims that he has not yet been formally charged with any offence.

Under the order, Balakrishnan cannot leave the district and must report to the police each week. Reports quoting his brother said that Balakrishnan preferred to die unless he was set free by the authorities or charged in court of any wrongdoing.

Balakrishnan went on hunger strike on November 30, but has been intermittently hospitalised in the past week and given intravenous glucose.

A spokesman for a human rights group was quoted by reports as saying that Balakrishnan was very weak. His wife Rukamani Devi is also staging a sit-in near the Internal security Ministry in Putrajaya.



Miscarriage of justice?: PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should step in to save two lives

I have visited both Balakrishnan Appala Naidu, 36, and his wife M Rakumani Devi in kelantan Sunday evening together with DAP Selangor Committee Members Purenthiran and Batumalai and some of their family members.

Rakumani is currently admitted to the Jeli General Hospital. She was sent there nine days after she started hunger strike together with her husband on 30 November, 2005. She told her mother and brother that she would rather die if the Prime Minister refuses to listen to their grievances. She believes her husband is also determined to do the same unless the PM steps in. Her condition is very critical and the hospital authority has so far unable to persuade her to stop her hunger strike.

We have no choice but to proceed with our journey to Kota Bharu where Balakrishnan was said to have admitted to after he went unconscious on 10 December 2005. On our way, we were shocked to hear from his brother A Thirumoorthy that he was actually sent to the mental hospital attached to the Kota Bharu General Hospital . Thirumoorthy told me over the phone that the police have claimed that his brother has gone insane!

When we finally met up with Balakrishnan at the “mad cell”, I could straight away sense that the man behind the iron bars is mentally stable. He is still able to maintain his cool at a time when he was surrounded by several other mental patients who were shouting away at the top of their voices in the confined cell.

I immediately demanded that Balakrishnan be released from the “mad cell” before he really gone insane. I argued that the police have no right to label a person as insane, and the doctor has no right to go along with the idea of the police. After a long argument and discussion with the doctor in-charge, he finally agreed to release him from the “mad cell” as he too agreed that Balakrishnan is not insane as claimed by the police.

We left the Kota Bharu GH shortly after Balakrishnan was transferred there at around 10.30 pm. We reached our homes in Petaling Jaya around 7 am in the morning (Monday).

I was just informed by Thirumoorthy that both Balarishnan and Rakumani have not given up on their hunger strikes. He said both of them would prefer to die if justice was not served for them.

Balakrishnan has complained to me that her wife has suffered two miscarriages over the past two years due to the stress resultant from his two wrongful detentions under the Emergency Ordinance.

He was detained by the police for his suspected involvement in gangsterism after a series of disputes and fights broke out between Balakrishnan and another MiC branch leader in Rawang. He has served 60 days under the first detention without trial.

He was again arrested and sent to Simpang Renggam under the same charges. Nevertheless, he was freed by the Johor High Court on 28 February 2004 but again arrested and immediately sent to Kuala Balah near Jeli, kelantan for restricted residence. He questioned why he was not given the same treatment like Datuk Tee Yam. He also claimed that he has contributed to the society as a MiC branch chairman.

Thirumoorthy will be making a police report on Wednesday morning at the Putrajaya police station. He has also planned to bring his brother’s case to the Prime Minister office on the same day.

The couple has two girls. One of them is four and the other is merely one and a half year-old.

We urge the Prime Minister to send his officials to meet up with both Balakrishnan and Rakumani Devi immediately in order to save their lives. What is so difficult to listen to their grievances?

Would the govenment respect the court decision?



Balakrishnan Appala Naidu- the person who went on a 15 day hunger strike in Simpang Renggam in November last year has been ordered released by the Johor Bharu High Court but family members are worried that the Government would not respect the court decision.

The Johor Bharu High Court Judge, Yang Arif KP Gengadharan C.R.Nair, in an order dated 25th February 2005 have declared as null and void and cancelled the Detention Order under the Emergency (Public Order and prevention of crime) Ordinance 1969 of Bala Krishnan a/l Appala Naidu. He further allowed the writ of Habeas Corpus and called for the detainee to be released immediately. Bala Krishnan was represented by Counsel R.R.Mahendran.

The court case went on for three days – 23, 24th and 25th February 2005. The brother of Bala Krishnan, Thirumoorthy a/l Appala Naidu has yet to serve the Court Decision to the Simpang Renggam Detention center to secure his brothers release because he is worried that his brother would be rearrested and there are rumours to this effect. Thirumoorthy has since brought up this issue to the attention of SUHAKAM Commissioner Dato Siva Subramaniam, who assured him that they would not be a rearrest. The family has also written to the Prme Minister’s Public Complaint Bureau on 1st. March 2005 as they are worried that Balakrishnan would be further victimized. There are previously cases of other detainees, who had been rearrested upon release.

SUARAM position has been any detention without trial is a gross human rights violation and we call upon the Government to respect the decision of the court.

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