Kugan Funeral Procession:
police arrest 5
January 28th, 2009
Kuala Lumpur (AFP)
Malaysian police arrested five people Wednesday as large crowds took part in a funeral march for an ethnic Indian man who died in police custody, triggering a murder investigation.
More than 1,000 people gathered in pouring rain at a Kuala Lumpur cemetery for the funeral rites of 22-year-old A. Kugan, chanting "justice" and "power to the people" as a police helicopter hovered overhead.
Kugan died Jan. 20 at a police station where he had been detained on suspicion of stealing luxury cars. The case drew attention to Malaysia's police force and its reputation for corruption and abuse.
"The funeral today must be the last such case of abuse by police," said Sivarasa Rasiah, a senior member of the opposition Keadilan party.
"The people want justice, and the government must ensure that Kugan's death is fully investigated and that those found guilty are really prosecuted and not allowed to get away," he said.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at a mortuary where Kugan's body had been held, at the start of a long procession.
Before they set off, three men were detained for wearing T-shirts bearing the name Hindraf, a banned Hindu rights group, and two others were arrested for scuffling with police, the state news agency Bernama said.
In line with some southern Indian traditions, the coffin was carried in a car decorated with banana leaves as the cortege made its way to the police station where Kugan died, and then to the cemetery for funeral rites and burial.
Security was tight along the route, with riot police guarding major intersections.
The mourners were mostly ethnic Indians, who are a minority in multicultural Malaysia, where the population is dominated by Muslim ethnic Malays.
Peter Selvanayagam, a 38-year-old engineer who attended the ceremony along with his wife and three children, was one of those who linked the death with alleged discrimination against the community.
"My family and I are here to show that we will not accept the injustice towards the Indian community. We want the guilty to be prosecuted and not to escape justice," he said.
[Malaysia Police Arrest 5 At Funeral March After Custody Death
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..... The people should not regard criminals as heroes and the police who enforce the law as demons, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said today. ....... “I am not pinpointing anybody,” the minister stressed. He explained that police had detained three suspects including Kugan following investigations into 19 cases of vehicle theft and armed robbery. ....
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.... A murder suspect was arrested during the funeral procession of A. Kugan, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said. He said when arrested, the suspect was wearing a t-shirt depicting the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force movement (Hindraf). ...