A group of concerned Indians from fifteen NGOs here in Johor Bahru had to give up their plans to stage a protest on the controversial novel “Interlok” due to the presence of some 100-strong police officers, both in uniforms and plainclothes.
The organizing chairman of the planned protest, Sivakumar Packirisamy, told Komunitikini that police rejected their permit application.
He also explained that the purpose of the demonstration was to express their views to the government on the future problems that might be faced by Indian students and their parents if the government persists in maintaining the book’s inclusion in the Form 5 syllabus of schools nationwide.
Another member of organizing committee, Subramaniam, blamed the Barisan Nasional government for continuously ‘harassing’ the rights of Indians in this country.
He cited the appointment of a non-Indian as the head of Department of Indian Studies in Universiti Malaya and also the inaction against a school principal in Kulai in spite of her racial remarks as examples of the government’s inefficiency.
Most of the representatives, who were from various Indian NGOs, expressed their concern over the kind of insults Indian students could face in school due to the novel.