January 21, 2012 Organisers believe that the assailants, who had caused serious injuries to at least one person, were linked to Umno.
KLANG: A rowdy mob gatecrashed a ceramah organised by Anything But Umno (ABU)/Hindraf in Jalan Kebun here, causing serious injury to at least one person earlier tonight.
Organisers told FMT that one of the volunteers at the ceramah was badly assaulted and had to be rushed to the hospital.
The incident happened at about 9.15pm when the ceramah was about to start.
About 30 attackers, waving sticks and helmets, rode their motorcycles into the ceramah venue – a hall – and rammed into participants and chairs.
Others had followed on foot and were allegedly ‘causing havoc’ by tossing chairs, throwing away ABU brochures, and hurling insults at participants, demanding for them to leave.
Organiser and ceramah participants believe the attackers were linked to Umno.
“I believe they were Umno people. They had the BN and Umno flags, and were wearing Umno t-shirts,” said one participant who alerted FMT of the incident.
“There was some arguments and one boy was badly beaten by the unruly youths using helmets,” said Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director E Nalini who was there to observe the ceramah.
She said the group left the venue when a couple of police patrol cars arrived. She added that the group however loitered outside the hall, shouting slogans and ignoring the policemen.
The speakers of the disrupted ceramah were supposed to be lawyer-activist Haris Ibrahim, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, PKR leader Badrul Hisham Shahrin and Hindraf national coordinator W Sambulingam.
Mohamad Sabu said he was on stage when the incident happened.
“They can’t do this, if they disagreed with us or our programmes, they can complain to police, not attack people. This is very bad image for democracy,” he said.
Hurling racial abuses
Meanwhile, another ceramah participant told FMT that the incident had gotten racial at one point when one of the ‘uninvited guests’ hurled racial abuses shouted at the participants, many who were Indians.
“One of them called us ‘keling’ while others proceeded to taunt the Indians present and shouted at the Malays there ‘you orang tak kenal hutang budi‘ (you unappreciative lot),” said legal executive M Yuktesvaran.
The organisers meanwhile said they were calling off the ceramah tonight, and will be resheduled to a venue in Seremban on Jan 28. It is also learnt that they will be lodging a police report soon.
Police: Villagers were angry
Meanwhile Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah brushed off claims of any attacks at the ceramah tonight.
“No such incident though there was some dissatisfaction by the residents about the activity,” he told FMT.
“No damages or injuries to people as alleged…no riots occurred,” he said, adding that Hindraf supporters were present at the venue.
However Shah Alam OCPD Zahedi Ayob confirmed there was “shouting and pushing” at the ceramah but everything calmed down after the arrival of the police.
He said that the tension was caused by the anti-Umno ceramah in a Malay area. He added that the Malay residents got angry with the ceramah, especially with a banner which called for the end of the Umno/BN “regime”.
“The villagers were also angry with the 20-odd Malays who had attended the ceramah…the kampung people came out to protest against the presence of the Malays in the Hindraf organised ceramah,” he told FMT when contacted.
He said the face-off between the villagers and the ceramah organisers caused a confrontation and “they were shouting and pushing in the dewan”.
He said that the ceramah, attended by about 70 people, was cancelled and so far the police had not received any reports of anyone being injured.
“I’ll like to say that we managed to avoid the incident from becoming worse apart from shouting and pushing. There is no such thing as people being beaten with sticks.
“The act of holding the ceramah was provocative. How can you hold such a meeting in a predominantly Malay area? No permit was requested as well,” he said.
He also warned the public not to spread rumours of a racial tension in Jalan Kebun, adding that false messages were being spread through SMSes that a Malay stall had been set on fire.
“That is untrue. When the group was leaving, the police were already there. They managed to control the situation,” he added. - FMT
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