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Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy escaped arrest

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Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy has returned to Malaysia, allaying fears that he would be arrested by the Johor immigration department.

There was a moment of suspense about noon for about 20 supporters when the immigration personnel took away his passport briefly. After a short discussion with immigration front desk personnel, the passport was returned and he was allowed free passage.

Several supporters who were travelling with Waythamoorthy from Singapore went through the same ordeal. “We are happy and bit shocked. We thought he would be arrested,” said Hindraf national coordinator W Sambulingam when contacted.

Waythamoorthy is scheduled to address supporters there at 5pm today, and to return to his home in Seremban tonight.

There was a red alert on the computer screen of the Malaysian immigration counter when he submitted his passport for clearance. The officer at the counter told him the alert meant that he had to see her superior.

Another official then collected his passport and those belonging to the members of the entourage escorting him, who numbered about 20 and included his wife, K Nageswari, and 10-year-old daughter, Vwaishhnavi.

The fear of arrest dissipated when immigration officials returned the passports.

Waytha left Malaysia three days after the historic Hindraf rally of Nov 25, 2007, which resulted in the detention of several activists under the Internal Security Act. The arrests took place on Dec 13 of that year.

In the following October, the government decided to ban Hindraf.

Earlier, in March 2008, the Malaysian government had revoked Waytha’s passport. Following this, he applied for and was granted political asylum by the British government.

About a month ago, he filed a class action suit against the British government for alleged wrongs committed against Malaysian Indians during the colonial era.

It was after filing the suit at the London High Court that he announced his intention to return with or without a passport. However, the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore issued him a passport last Monday. –