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Standing Up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nanda   
Monday, 01 November 2010 19:32

There was a loud rapping of knuckles, rattling the front door at around 10pm, 25th October 2010. Five personnel identified themselves as police officers demanded that the door be opened. Startled, a man in his sarong went to look for the keys while his wife and his kids were looking, terriffied at the sudden ongoing at their house. The police officers were in no mood to wait for the keys. They decided to break it open and storm into the house, their actions punctuated with generous ammount of profanity.

Soon after, the man in the sarong was detained and beaten in front of his wife.

His wife was then told to bring her husband a pair of pants and to change her husband's sarong there and then. The kids were perplexed and being kids, they began to ask questions. "Where are you taking my dad?". "What's happening?". The questions were met with more profanity from the cops and the man was then beaten up in front of his wife and his kids before being taken away, leaving his family members with no clue as to what just happened and where were they taking him and on what grounds.

The narration above is not the opening scene for a Hollywood movie. It took place at K. Selvachandran's home. Earlier that day, the coroner's court gave an “open verdict” into R Gunasegaran’s inquest stating that the cause of his death while in police custody could not be conclusively proven. K. Selvachandran had testified during the inquest, stating that he witnessed one Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib assaulting Gunasegaran before the suspect collapsed and died.

Following a press conference organised by SUARAM and Lawyers for Liberty, a call for action was made to the members of the public, urging them to show their solidarity and to stand together with K. Selvachandran's family and concerned citizens to demand the details of detention and whereabouts of Selva and to make a stand against the apparent high-handed manner in which the police acted, bringing forth claims of abuse of power and police brutality. A memorandum was prepared and was brought to Bukit Aman on 30th October 2010.

Five days without news about the whereabouts of her husband, Saraswathy (Selva's wife) seemed brave but tears did flow.


But she wasn't alone. About 70 people turned up on that Saturday morning, resisting the temptation to sleep in. All came out for a single purpose, to stand alongside a fellow citizen and his family. Old friends, familiar faces, new faces, comrades, friends, all united in this quest to demand accountability from the police and the authorities.


Tired, we might be, but that is not going to stop us from standing up and speaking out.


And some were silent but their questions and demands were loud enough to be heard by all in Bukit Aman.


Without much clue as to where Selva is and when and if he will ever be allowed to return back home to his family, concerns for his wife and kids were apparent amongst those present. And they willingly contributed what they can in order for the family to survive.


Selva's case is certainly not unique and it is not isolated.

We have been bombarded with numerous cases that make us question the conduct of the police and the authorities.

And it is even more crucial that we, the people, stand up for our fellow citizens' whose rights have been taken away with no regards whatsoever of the consequences.

For the actions of those in power are carried out in our names and if we choose to remain silent, if we could not find it in us to see the injustices that are being perpetrated, in our silence we endorse and legitimise those actions.



Picture 2 - Suatu Ketika

Pictures 1, 3, 4, 5 - Nandakumar Haridas


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Only registered users can write comments!
alex abraham |2010-11-03 16:09:13


These are the kind of tactics emplyed in countries run by tin pot democracies and by those with little or no intelligence with peak caps and aviator shades. I cant believe the lawyer home affairs minister who is from worthy stock, whose father was not only a lawyer but an officer and a gentleman would allow this to happen thereby sullying the name and stature of his family. This is police thuggery and there is no other way to describe it.
Anonymous |2010-11-03 16:44:22


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