Penang deputy chief minister (II) P Ramasamy has called for those detained without trial under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, over purported links to the defunct Sri Lankan rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), to either be freed or charged ahead of Deepavali celebrations tomorrow.
"In the spirit of Deepavali, my family and I extend our sympathies to all those who have been arrested and detained under unjust laws in the country.
"The arrest and detention of 12 individuals suspected of having links with the defunct LTTE must be charged and given bail in an open court," he said in a statement today.
The LTTE, which fought against the Sri Lankan government for the independence of its Tamil-majority region, was defeated in 2009.
The Tamil cause in Sri Lanka receives sympathy from the Tamil diaspora but the LTTE is considered by Malaysia to be a terrorist organisation.
Ramasamy (above) pointed out that the families of those detained, who are Hindus, will be celebrating Deepavali without their loved ones.
"I am deeply concerned about the wives, parents and children of the detainees who might not be able to enjoy the joyous event.
"I urge them to be brave and that their loved ones will be soon freed as they have done no wrong," said the Penang DAP committee member.
Among those who were detained under Sosma include former and current members of DAP, PKR and PAS.
They include DAP's Seremban Jaya assemblyperson P Gunasekaran and Gadek assemblyperson G Saminathan.
Meanwhile, DAP's Batu Gajah MP V Sivakumar (above) said this year's Deepavali would not be a happy event for the Indian community.
"This year’s Deepavali is a solemn and sombre one for the Malaysian Indian community, especially for the families of the detainees who have been keeping vigil at the police headquarters.
"As a reflection of the sombre and solemn feeling of the Indian community, I hereby cancel all Deepavali functions in my constituency organised by the Batu Gajah Parliamentary Service Centre.
"I will also not participate in any Deepavali function to reflect and sympathise with the families of the detainees," he said in a separate statement.
He also called on the government to immediately release the detainees.