(see Malaysiakini.com 4/3/2011)
Perak Human Rights Party (HRP) chief P Ramesh was charged in a magistrate’s court in Kuala Lumpur today with taking part in an illegal organisation and with distributing printed materials.
Ramesh is alleged to have committed the offences under sections 43 and 47 of the Societies Act 1996 while taking part in a HRP organised gathering at Jalan Thambipillai, off Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields, at 8.15am on Feb 27.
The HRP leaders and members were on that day organising a peaceful march, against Umno’s racism and the use of the novel Interlok in schools, under name of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf ).
Ramesh (left) also faced an additional charge of having 11 different printed items, including banners, leaflets and posters associated with the Hindraf motto, in his possession.
DPP Vincent Chew appeared for the prosecution, while Ramesh was represented by M Manoharan, who is also Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson, and HRP secretary-general P Uthayakumar.
Contacted by Malaysiakini, Uthayakumar said Ramesh pleaded not guilty and was released on bail of RM4,000 bail on each charge.
The case has been fixed for mention on April 11.
"My client is not guilty, for there is no benefit for him from the march… first and foremost, Hindraf never was a secret society. His action was to help the poor marginalised Indians, that’s all," Uthayakumar added.
On Tuesday, five HRP leaders and members were also charged with a similar offence at a magistrate’s court in Selayang, but they refused to post bail, which was set at RM2,500.
On Wednesday, six others pleaded not guilty to similar charges at a magistrate’s court in Ipoh, and were released on bail of RM2,000 each.
Yesterday, 41 more HRP leaders and members also pleaded not guilty to similar charges against them at magistrate’s courts in Seremban and Kuala Lumpur, and all were released on bail.
On Feb 27, 109 protesters aged 17 to 66 years, among them eight women and eight HRP leaders, were arrested for their involvement in the peaceful march in Kuala Lumpur against Umno’s racism and the novel Interlok.
Controversy rose following the Education Ministry’s decision to use the novel, written by national laureate Abdullah Hussein, for Form Five students, with several parties claiming it contains words insensitive to the Chinese and Indian communities.
There have been endless protest against the Interlok since then.
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