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Ahead of Manmohan's visit, M'sian police beat up Indian witness in Guna's inquest

Will Manmohan speak up for M'sian IndiansAs Prime Minister Najib Razak prepares his best welcome smile for visiting Indian premier Dr Manmohan Singh who will arrive on Tuesday, Malaysian Indians are seething with anger at Najib's administration for its perceived callousness and discrimination against their community.

Their latest anger is directed at the inquest findings into the suspicious death of R Gunasegaran, who had died while in police custody.

To matters worse, one of the witnesses in the inquest, Selvaraj, has been beaten up and arrested by the police in front of his wife, people familiar with the case told Malaysia Chronicle.

According to the sources, the police told his wife that he would be detained for 60 days - an abnormally long remand and scaring her into sending SOS messages to the lawyers acting for Guna's family.

Violence after violence

This latest Malaysian police brutality is bound to send fresh shock waves through the Indian community, which was earlier outraged by the Coroner's decision to pronounce an "open" verdict despite the evidence from 4 eyewitnesses who saw Guna being beaten by a police officer.

Guna's sister with Sivarasa (extreme left)
"It is a scandal how she (the coroner) can arrive at an “open verdict” when there were 4 eyewitnesses to the deceased being assaulted by Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib. She even pondered whether the injuries could have been caused by efforts to resuscitate the deceased even though the medical officer testified that no effort was made at resuscitation!" Subang Member of Parliament Sivarasa Rasiah had said in a statement.

"It is shocking indictment of the poor standard of the country’s criminal justice system and lawlessness of the PDRM when so many people, mostly young men in good health can be detained by the police but end up dead. The situation is made worse when the medical authorities in charge of conducting post-mortems normally do a poor job as did the Kuala Lumpur Hospital in this instance, had even failed to store the body properly causing it to rot."

Indeed, throughout the hearing, Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin was accused of going out of her way to protect the policemen and the hospital personnel involved in covering up for the police. Deputy public prosecutor Shashitah Mohamad Hanifa had claimed that Guna died from a drug overdose although a second post-morten had shown a wound measuring 28cm x 8cm x 5cm.

Nonetheless, the apparent injustice as well as the long-standing complaints by the community of the Malaysian government's neglect of their welfare - both social and economic - is unlikely to stop Manmohan or Najib from hailing each other.

The Indian prime minister is due to arrive for a three-working visit. Just days ago, Manmohan had said he was proud of the Malaysian Indians. But they wonder if he really took the trouble to find out if they were well-treated and whether he would have a word with Najib about their suffering.

"We hope that he will not just shake hands with Najib and not do something for us. No doubt, we are Malaysians but he is a world leader. On our own, we cannot get Najib to treat with more respect. Maybe if Dr Manmohan also speaks up on our behalf, it might help a bit. It is still better than not doing anything at all," S Rajeswari, who has been following the Guna inquest, told Malaysia Chronicle.

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