Criticism of Zakir Naik may have led to LTTE arrests, says MP

(FMT) – An MP has suggested that the arrests of two DAP assemblymen over alleged links to a now-defunct separatist group might have been in retaliation against criticisms of controversial Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

Klang MP Charles Santiago raised the possibility of retaliation by questioning the timing of the arrests, which was made on Oct 10, on the eve of the 2020 Budget being tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

“What was the message the police were trying to send?,” he said. “The budget is one of the most important events in the year and instead everyone is talking about Sosma,” he said, referring to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 under which the two men were detained.

Santiago said this to FMT after a talk on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the defunct Sri Lankan militant group at the centre of the arrests.

He said the arrests appeared to be a warning to the Indian community, especially those with the DAP.

At the talk, Santiago had claimed that the Sosma was being used as a tool to punish those who had spoken out against Naik, who has been accused of causing racial disharmony in the country.

“Sosma is being used to break the peace and stability in the country,” Santiago said.

However, he would not be cowed in speaking up against Naik, who he says should have action taken against him in view of the numerous reports lodged against him.

Santiago also challenged the police to produce evidence that those detained over alleged LTTE links had been attempting to revive the outfit and were transferring money to them.

“Where is the evidence? They cannot say the use of Facebook and having LTTE paraphernalia on their mobile phone is the basis of reviving the LTTE,” he said, adding that no one will believe it.

Santiago said that if the police could not produce evidence by next week, it will prove that the crackdown on supposed LTTE sympathisers was a form of “political manoeuvring” which has victimised the families.

Last month DAP assemblymen P Gunasekaran and G Saminathan claimed trial to charges of terrorism under the Penal Code, some three weeks after their arrest in a crackdown on LTTE sympathisers.