15 arrested over Interlok protest

An Indian group also warns the government of political repercussions in the Tenang by-election if the book is not withdrawn.

KUALA LUMPUR: The police arrested 15 people, including a 61-year-old woman, for protesting against the controversial Interlok novel in Tasek Gelugor, Penang.

A Kalaimughilan, the son of Perak PKR member MS Arjunan, was among those arrested.

Contacted later, he told FMT that it was a peaceful protest held at a residential area this morning in order to create awareness about the book.

“Our aim was just to hold a peaceful gathering to inform the Indians in that area about the contents of the book,” he said.

However, he added that chaos erupted when some 30 policemen arrived at the scene and arrested the protesters, including members of the Malaysian Tamil Students Progressive Team (MTSP).

Meanwhile, more than 50 police reports had been lodged nationwide against the book, which was introduced in schools this year for the Malay literature subject.

The reports were filed in Jasin, Tasek Gelugor, Kota Bharu, Sentul, Ipoh, Port Dickson, Batu Gajah, Sitiawan, Taiping, Teluk Intan, Kuantan and Malacca.

Federation of Indian Organisations (Prima) president A Rajaretnam said that the high number of police reports reflected the Indian community’s anger and frustration.

“We once again urge the government to ban the book, or else we will be forced to campaign against Barisan Nasional in the Tenang by-election,” he added.

Indian organisations, including MIC, had called for the book’s removal from the syllabus because it contained inaccurate and disparaging remarks about the community.

Interlok was penned in 1971 by national laureate Abdullah Hussain

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