They tried to assemble for an "anti-racism march" in Kuala Lumpur

Over 100 Malaysian Indian protesters, including several leaders of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), were arrested as they tried to assemble for an “anti-racism march” in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning. But they were set free in the night after a police investigation.

The organisers of the planned march said over 200 people, including P. Uthayakumar, Pro Tem leader of the unregistered Human Rights Party Malaysia, were detained. There was no outbreak of violence, and the planned march did not take place.

“Racist” references

Self-exiled HINDRAF leader P. Waytha Moorthy told The Hindu the protest was sparked by the “racist” references against Malaysian Indians and ethnic Chinese in a Malay-language novel, “Interlok,” meant for study at high school.

On the assurances of the Malaysian authorities that the novel would be reviewed before its adoption for school curriculum, the HINDRAF's stand was that the expunction of a few offensive expressions, instead of the overall tenor, would not suffice.

With a Malay-Muslim majority, multiracial Malaysia is also home to at least two key minorities – ethnic Chinese and people of Indian origin.

A few others in custody

Mr. Waytha Moorthy said Mr. Uthayakumar was among those released on bail at night, but a few others who kept vigil for him were subsequently taken into custody.

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