Samy to clear the air over Hindraf in India

(The Sun): Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who will be leading a 100-strong delegation  to attend the fifth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), the annual meeting of the Indian diaspora, next week, is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several Indian chief ministers on the sidelines of the meeting to explain the real situation concerning the Indian community in Malaysia.

This is because Hindraf leader M. Waythamoorthy had, in recent times, met with leaders of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and in Delhi with L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh, leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Indian government, however, did not meet with Waythamoorthy, and its External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, had dismissed any notion of support to Hindraf saying that it was Malaysia's 'internal matter'.

Samy, who is also the MIC president, will also deliver a working paper on infrastructure, opportunities and investment at the three-day meet ing from Jan 7.

Meanwhile, Benama reports that  en route to New Delhi, Samy Vellu, who was in Chennai yesterday, said he will meet Indian leaders, including Manmohan Singh, to explain the real situation concerning the Indian community in Malaysia.

Samy Vellu, who was speaking to Indian journalists after launching a book yesterday, said he would undertake a similar effort with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister S. Karunanidhi.

He said that in view of negative publicity arising from the Nov 25 illegal street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur involving a group of Indian Malaysians, he would explain to the two leaders the actual position of the Indian community in Malaysia.

"I hope to meet the Indian prime minister on the sidelines of the Pravasi conference and meet the Tamil Nadu chief minister here within the next few days," he said.

Samy Vellu said it was not true that Indians in Malaysia were deprived of so many things and that many Hindu temples had been demolished arbitrarily.

"Some of the temples were demolished because of court orders as they were built illegally," he said, adding that many of the temples were relocated to alternative sites.

Samy Vellu expressed hope that his explanation to the Indian government would clear up any misunderstanding over the issue.

Relations between Malaysia and India are strong "and nothing will affect this cordial relationship", he said.