Wives of DAP reps, businessman detained over LTTE links go on hunger strike outside Bukit Aman

Wife of Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan, Umah Devi, cries as she talks to Malay Mail outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur October 24, 2019. — Picture by Soo Wern Jun
Wife of Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan, Umah Devi, cries as she talks to Malay Mail outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur October 24, 2019. — Picture by Soo Wern Jun

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — The wives of three suspects arrested over alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have gone on a hunger strike after hearing that their husbands will be held in detention for another week.

Umah Devi, wife of Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan, said she and two others, Sumathi (wife of S. Chandru, businessman) and Vimala Jakumaran (wife of Melaka local authority councillor V. Suresh Kumar) made this decision as they are frustrated with and disappointed at the arrests of husbands.

“It has been 14 days since their arrest, and we have given all the cooperation the police have requested.

“What else are they investigating? How long more do they need to investigate?

“Deepavali is coming this weekend, but we will not be able to celebrate it as how we have before, knowing that our husbands are being detained for something they did not do,” she said when met by Malay Mail outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters today.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today set October 31 to hear a habeas corpus application by five of the suspects arrested over alleged links to LTTE.

The five are being held in detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).

Umah said by next Thursday (hearing day) will be the 21st day that her husband is held in detention, and it will take another week for the court’s decision.

“That makes 28 days, we won’t be seeing my husband.

“Until now I don’t know what to tell my son. He has been asking me where is ‘appa’ (father). He has also asked me why are we not going Deepavali shopping. What am I to tell him?” said Umah who was in tears.

Umah Devi, Sumathi and Vimala Jakumaran — the wives of Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan, businessman S. Chandru and Melaka local authority councillor V. Suresh Kumar respectively — on hungry strike outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur October 24, 2019. — Picture by Soo Wern Jun
Umah Devi, Sumathi and Vimala Jakumaran — the wives of Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan, businessman S. Chandru and Melaka local authority councillor V. Suresh Kumar respectively — on hungry strike outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur October 24, 2019. — Picture by Soo Wern Jun

If their husbands are not released before Deepavali this weekend, Umah added the police said they will arrange a short meeting for the men to “celebrate” the occasion with their families at Bukit Aman.

“What do they think Deepavali is? That you can celebrate in 30 minutes? There are prayers which need to be performed, and Deepavali is a very meaningful festival for us Hindus,” she said.

She also asked if it was necessary that the five be investigated under Sosma as they were merely performing prayers for the public.

“There is some form of confusion somewhere. And we hope that the police complete their investigations soon.

“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had promised to abolish Sosma in their manifesto, but why are they are still using it.

“Where are all the ministers who once fought to abolish Sosma? Why are they not saying anything about this?” she questioned.

Umah said they have stayed outside Bukit Aman since Monday and will continue to do so until their husbands are released.

Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaren is also among the five who were arrested on suspicion of supporting the LTTE.

The LTTE was a separatist group that had been active in Sri Lanka until it was officially defeated in 2009. It has been classified as a terrorist group by 32 countries including Malaysia, which did so in 2014.

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