10/16/2008, 00.00
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Malaysian government bans Hindu movement

The Hindu Rights Action Force has been declared illegal, because it "threatens social stability" in the country and "constitute an obstacle to relations between the Muslim majority and the ethnic minorities." The accusations are rejected by the Hindus, who defend their "peaceful struggle."

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Malaysian authorities have banned an ethnic Indian group that, in the past, has repeatedly promoted campaigns on behalf of human rights for minorities. Government officials have declared the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) illegal because it threatens "social stability in the country."

Interior minister Syed Hamid Albar has declared that the association is "an illegal group," effective immediately, because it is "harmful" for public order, peace, security, and morality. The minister says that Hindraf has been responsible in the past for repeated "unauthorized demonstrations," and has damaged the image of Malaysia by calling for "international support for its activities." He also specifies that the group "was not even registered," and constitutes a threat "to the fragile relations between the Muslim majority in the country and the Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities."

Leaders of the Hindu movement have replied curtly by defending their "peaceful struggle against discrimination toward the Indian minority," and say they have never "broken the law or committed crimes."

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