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Angry crowd gathers at Malaysian consulate in Chennai

 | June 9, 2017

Consulate’s premise under police protection as supporters of popular politician Vaiko, who was barred from entering Malaysia today, vent their rage.

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PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian consulate in Chennai has come under heavy police protection after a large crowd gathered outside the premise to protest Malaysia’s move to bar popular politician V Gopalasamy from entering the country today.

Better known as Vaiko, the 73-year-old founder of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) party in Tamil Nadu was stopped by Immigration officials at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.30am today despite having a valid visa.

The Chennai-based Tamil Samayam news portal reported that a large multitude of MDMK supporters had gathered outside the consulate’s grounds at Cenotaph Road by late afternoon.

The gates were closed as the boisterous crowd began congregating with angry chants. Policemen were deployed to stand in front of the gates and around the site to prevent any untoward incident.

It is understood that several protesters have been arrested.

According to the India Today news channel, Vaiko issued a statement condemning the move to prevent him from entering Malaysia, saying he has always been supporting the cause of Tamils and there was no reason for Malaysia to act in the manner that it did.

He added that he would decide on his next step after returning to Chennai.

Vaiko had arrived to attend the wedding reception of Penang deputy chief minister (II) P Ramasamy’s daughter tomorrow evening.

The Times of India reported a statement by MDMK that said Vaiko received the visa along with his personal assistant Arunagiri nearly one week ago.

“Vaiko was questioned by officials about his links to the LTTE and about several cases filed by Sri Lanka against him. Vaiko showed his passport and said he was an Indian citizen. But the officials did not let him go,” said the statement.

It said Vaiko informed Ramasamy about what had happened at the airport.

“The officials at the airport told Ramasamy that they had received orders from the Malaysian deputy prime minister’s (Zahid Hamidi who is also the home minister) office.

“Arunagiri was allowed to go to the canteen on the first floor to get some food, but Vaiko refused to have anything. Officials also pressurised him to have food, but Vaiko refused,” said the statement

Ramasamy, who is DAP deputy secretary-general, told FMT that a highly placed source at the home ministry had attributed the ban on Vaiko to his perceived links to the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel organisation in Sri Lanka.

He claimed that the ban had been insisted on by the Sri Lankan embassy after Vaiko had taken part in a human rights conference in Penang in 2015.

The Star Online quoted Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali as confirming that Vaiko was not allowed to enter Malaysia as he was “blacklisted”.

Vaiko has been a vocal campaigner in India against alleged human rights atrocities against ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka.

On Nov 21, 2015, he attended a one-day international forum on human rights violations in Sri Lanka held in Penang to discuss the United Nations’ (UN) findings on abuses there, especially those perpetrated by the military against Tamils.

Ramasamy said the Sri Lankan High Commission had then made attempts to block his arrival and his visa application was rejected by the consulate in Chennai.

He said it was Zahid who then intervened in the matter and his visa was granted on Nov 19 for him to arrive in Malaysia on Nov 20, 2015.

Vaiko had also attended an international Tamil conference officiated by then parliamentary opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Penang in Nov 2014.

The event reportedly came under heavy criticism from MIC leaders, who felt they had been excluded.

The conference adopted the “Penang Declaration”. Among its eight resolutions was a call for a UN-monitored referendum for a sovereign Tamil Eelam, an independent state on the island of Sri Lanka.

Indian politician Vaiko denied entry into Malaysia

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End of war in Sri Lanka, but Tamils still suffering


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