In the massive rally of the Malaysian Indians in Kuala Lumpur on November 25, several protesters were seen carrying portraits of Mahatma Gandhi to show their faith in non violence. One of the leaders of that rally called by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), P.Waytha Moorthy, had declared that Gandhi was his role model and even went on satyagraha when arrested.
The police used force to disperse the protesters, which drew all round condemnation, including from TamilNadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi, who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking India's intervention.
In an appeal to the Queen of England and the heads of the Commonwealth, Hindraf on November 25 said it had written "thousands of letters" to the Malaysian authorities pleading for equal opportunities for people of Indian origin, 95 per cent of them Tamils, but there was no response. "Our worst fears are we do not want these Tamils to be forced into terrorism like what is happening in Sri Lanka," said the Hindraff letter.
Former professor of University Kebangsaan Malaysia, P. Ramasamy, has also warned that the Malaysian Indians may turn to the LTTE if their grievances were not addressed. If their oppression and marginalization continued, Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran could soon replace Gandhi as their inspiration, said the university teacher, sacked for criticizing the government.
"Over 100,000 people gathered for that Sunday rally to give our petition to the British high commission despite the government blocking all entries to Kuala Lumpur and the police unleashing unprecedented repression to defeat our march. Hundreds of these protesters carried Gandhi portraits, which they bought from the shops even without being told to. It was a spontaneous gesture to demonstrate we are peaceful," recalled Mr Waytha Moorthy, speaking to this newspaper at his hotel in Chennai. He fled Malaysia a couple of days ago as the police allegedly prepared to arrest him under the draconian Internal Security Act, which meant jail without trial and bail.