Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Rest in peace, Kugan.

I attended the funeral of police-death victim Kugan Ananthan today afternoon. Earlier, I joined a small crowd that had gathered outside the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, where Kugan's body had been kept. The funeral procession then proceeded to the USJ police station where Kugan died, for a brief prayer session before heading to the Indian burial ground in Puchong.

The funeral procession was marred by the arrest of several individuals. Three were supposedly arrested for wearing Hindraf t-shirts. A few more were arrested for trying to breach the police barricade of the hospital mortuary. Apparently one of those arrested is a murder suspect. Well, let's wait and see if that's true. 

Meanwhile, the police must be appreciated for giving Kugan such a grand send-off. I mean, how often do we have several hundred policemen, some in riot-gear, escorting a funeral procession? They even threw in a helicopter and a whole battalion of traffic policemen. The only thing missing was a gun salute.

A lot has been said and done since the start of this controversy. I welcome the AG's instruction to the police to investigate the case as a murder. I welcome the statement by the IGP and Deputy IGP that the police will investigate the case transparently, without any cover-up. That said, it would help if the police actually DO something instead of just promising. The 11 policemen being investigated for the murder have been given 'desk jobs'. Why no remand? How come the police who are so prompt in arresting people wearing Hindraf t-shirts, did not arrest and remand murder suspects?

A lot of attention has also been focussed on the alleged 'morgue barging' incident. My fellow MIC friends who were there that night say there was no such thing. The video on Malaysiakini shows the door open, not 'locked from the inside by the mob' as claimed. Whatever it is, I feel that the entire attempt to divert the attention to the 'morgue incident' instead of a death in police custody, is lame at best.

Another pathetic thing about this whole episode was the attempt by some politicians to score points. Come one lah, how cheap can you get. Some of them seemed only interested in taking photos and giving press conferences. They even had the cheek to claim that the MIC was not there. In fact, the MIC was the first at the scene from day one. We genuinely helped the family. We didn't go just to take photos. A letter to Malaysiakini by MIC Youth's Secretary explains the story.

Some have twisted the entire episode to make it an 'Indian issue'. Yes, Kugan is Indian. Yes, most deaths in police custody are Indians. But no, this is not an 'Indian issue'. This is a Malaysian issue. Deaths in police custody is a national issue. So let's stop making this a racial problem.

Our Home Minister takes the cake for issuing rubbish statements. His claim that the two BN deputy ministers could be charged for the 'morgue barging' incident is most uncalled-for. Dato' Seri... check your facts first lah, that way you won't end up looking like a fool.

Well, Kugan has been buried. May he rest in peace. But we cannot rest. There must be justice for Kugan. The alleged murderers must be charged in court. The police have to take concrete steps to make sure this doesn't happen again. Until then, this issue is very much alive!

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