UPDATED More than a hundred people gathered around the front of the police headquarters in Bukit Aman on Saturday to protest the abduction of K Selvanchandran, who was beaten in front of his wife and children before being dragged away by several policemen on Monday night.

For 5 days until this morning’s protest, the police had refused to divulge his whereabouts, his safety or the reasons for his remand – even to his wife and immediate family.

Finally, forced by the refusal of the protesters to disperse, a police spokesman said Selva was remanded by the Narcotics department under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures)

“The shocking aspect of this injustice is that until today – 5 days later – the police had refused to confirm the place of detention, so it was a kidnapping. We are also shocked by the deafening silence of the Home Minister and the IGP and condemn their arrogance and irresponsibility in not responding to the public,” PKR vice president Sivarasa Rasiah told Malaysia Chronicle.

Police revenge, kidnapping

Tian was referring to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and new Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar. Despite their high office, both men have refused to acknowledge the public’s concern for Selva or initiated any action for an immediate investigation.

Multi-racial crowd refused to go until they got answers

This despite the fact that there is a very high possibility of police exacting revenge against Selva because he had testified against them in a custodial death case involving the late R Gunasegaran.

Selva and three others had witnessed policemen beating Guna unconscious, but even so, their testimony was apparently ignored by the Coroner, who delivered an open verdict that was sharply criticized.

Hours after the controversial inquest decision, several policemen went to Selva’s house. According to his wife S Saraswathy, after beating him in front of her and the children, they also tried to force her to kiss him before hauling him off. They told her that he would be detained for 60 days.

Even under Malaysia’s archaic laws, the police cannot hold anyone for more than 24 hours without a remand order unless the detention is under the Internal Security Act, Emergency Ordinance or Dangerous Drugs Act. But there was no notification from the police or the Home Ministry at all.

“Who will be responsible if something happens to Selva? If there is another custodial death, another murder, who will bear the responsibility? Will it be Hishammuddin Hussein or Ismail Omar?” Batu MP Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

All lives are important, all lives must be defended

Despite the early morning rainfall, more than a hundred activists, Pakatan Rakyat policians and normal folk gathered at Bukit Aman to protest and to hand over a 7-point memorandum. They started streaming in from 10am onwards, breaking off only after 12.30pm.

Latheefa in white headscarf

Apart from Sivarasa, the Subang MP, parliamentarians present included Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefli Ahamd and Kland MP Charles Santiago.

NGOs Lawyers for Liberty, SUARAM and SABM, Human Rights Party, Bar Council representative Lim Chee Wee, scores of bloggers and many ordinary Malaysians upset by the high-handed police action turned up.

“It looks like the government is trying to hush the entire incident,” Lawyers for Liberty spokesperson Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.

“The mainstream press has painted the case as a non-issue and this morning’s protest as attended only by Indians. We question their motives and condemn the implication that Malaysian Indians are not important. All lives are important, all lives must be defended.”

The NGO handed over their memorandum (see below) to a representative of the IGP on behalf of Selva’s family. The memo included a demand to release Selva immediately and to issue a public apology to him and his family.

It also demanded that the strongest disciplinary action, including criminal prosecution, be taken against the policemen who had assaulted and kidnapped Selva.

By Malaysia Chronicle, 30 Oct, 2010