GEORGE TOWN, July 27 — Overt support for the Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) does not automatically make one a terrorist, said David Marshel when claiming nearly all ethnic Indians of Tamil descent backed the organisation.
The Tamilar Kural Malaysia president said the LTTE, which is classified as a terrorist group by some countries, that had fought for their rights and freedom in Sri Lanka.
“I supported them, too. I can say 90 per cent of Tamils in the world supported them; does this mean all of us are terrorists?” he said during a peaceful demonstration at Komtar today.
He said the LTTE was destroyed in 2009 and was essentially non-existent now, which he said rendered the issue of supporting the militant group moot.
David led a group of about 40 representatives from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the demonstration in support of Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy that started at about 1pm on the ground floor of Komtar.
The group held up banners with pictures of Ramasamy with the heading “Peace fighter labelled as terrorist?” and the words “we support Ramasamy”.
“We are strongly against these false accusations against our second deputy chief minister so we organised this overnight to show our support for him,” David said.
He then lashed out at Muslim preacher Zakir Naik, labelling him as a terrorist.
“Ramasamy is a peace negotiator, he is not a terrorist, it is Zakir Naik who is a terrorist,” he said.
He claimed Bangladesh also labeled Zakir as a terrorist. The preacher is also being sought by his home country of India for terrorism-related investigations there.
David noted this and asked why the preacher fled India and was unwilling to return to aid investigations there.
Zakir is a permanent resident of Malaysia.
David challenged Zakir to go back to India and absolve himself of the allegations.
“Why run to Malaysia?” he asked.
“There are hundreds of police reports against Ramasamy here, but look, he didn’t run away like Zakir, he is here,” he said.
Padang Serai MP M. Karupaiya also expressed support for Ramasamy.
“For as long as I know him, Ramasamy has always supported peace, he has always supported those who were fighting for their rights and their freedom,” he said.
They both also mentioned Ramasamy’s support for Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) and questioned why an allegedly anti-Muslim leader would support either group.
A representative from Pertubuhan Kebajikan Tanjung Malim Slim River, M. Mythreyar, challenged the Muslim groups and Zakir who are critical of Ramasamy to a public debate on the LTTE.
“I am willing to have a debate with any of them, not through the media and not through social media, we can do it face to face and debate on this issue,” he said.
The demonstration by the group was in response to a rival demonstration by Muslim groups against Ramasamy last week and later today.
Several Muslim groups are expected to hold a demonstration demanding for Ramasamy’s resignation due to his alleged links to LTTE after Friday prayers today.
The groups will also be handing over a memorandum to the state government to demand for Ramasamy’s resignation.