High school students arrested and abused during Hindraf rally

by Sharyn Shufiyan

For 17-year-old V. Pirassad, never had he anticipated that buying candles for a vigil in front of the Jinjang police station would have him spend 22 hours in lock-up.

After finding out that his uncle were among those arrested during the February 27 Hindraf/HRP rally against Interlok, Pirassad came to the Jinjang police station, where his uncle was arrested, and bought candles for a vigil that was being planned by families of those arrested.

However, as he followed the police officers’ instructions to disperse, a policeman instructed his fellow colleagues to arrest Pirassad.

What followed was a 22-hour ordeal in a lock-up at the Sungai Besi police station, where he was abused with vulgar words, was threatened that his head will be chopped off, was asked to drink dirty tap water, and was asked to eat meat even though he was vegetarian.

“They never told me where they were bringing me, The police officer simply told me that if I had the guts to attend an illegal assembly (perhimpunan haram), I should have the guts to face the consequences,” he said.

Throughout the period in which he was at the lock-up, Pirassad did not drink nor eat, and was also left shirtless.

“One of the police officers said that I am a Hindraf boy, so I should be taught a lesson.”

A similar fate befell 16-year-old Sharman Raj, who was among the convoy of 26 arrested in Seremban during the same day.

The SMK (Methodist) ACS Seremban student however faced greater consequences after he was released from jail.

“My teacher personally called and lectured me not to spoil the school’s name,” he said.

His name was announced during the school assembly, and subsequently a fellow student apparently chided him by saying ‘Indians are pariahs’.

“They started teasing me and making fun of me as I got arrested,” said Sharman, who was kept at the police station for some 10 hours without any food.

The two high school students were among the hundreds arrested during a nationwide clampdown against suspected Hindraf members on a day when Hindraf attempted to hold massive rally against the controversial novel Interlok.