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Malaysia IT arrests may lead to exodus

March 14, 2003 13:00 IST

The rounding up of IT professionals in Kuala Lumpur is likely to lead to an exodus of Indians from Malaysia, Veena Sikri, Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia, said on Thursday. She appealed to the Indian professionals in Malaysia not to resort to such a move.

"My feeling is that Indians here are now keen to go back after this incident. But I appeal to them not to do so because I think that such an incident is an aberration," she said.

She said around 32 of the detained IT professionals had already left for India. "The people who have been arrested are determined to leave. Around 32 have already left and many more are in the process," she said.

Meanwhile, faced with strong protest by India and intervention from some human rights groups, the Malaysian authorities have ordered a probe into the detention and ill-treatment of around 270 Indians. "Malaysia has ordered a probe into the issue. We are still awaiting a reply from them," Sikri said.

"We want to clear the air over the issue by carrying out a complete investigation even though our initial investigation did not indicate any wrongdoing," Dell Akhbar Khan, city police chief who ordered the probe, said.

He said he had directed the disciplinary division of the police to probe into the alleged mistreatment of the Indian nationals.

He said no time-frame has been given to the officers probing the allegation but added that city police is giving the top priority to the case.

If investigators found any wrongdoing by policemen who took part in the raid, a stern action would be taken against them, the police chief said.

The probe was ordered as the victims' representatives submitted complaint to the national human rights commission detailing how they were handcuffed, made to squat in the car park of the police station for nearly 10 hours and some passports were tampered with.

The opposition democratic action party chairman, Lim Kit Siang, who accompanied the victims' representatives, said the incident has embarrassed the country.

BS Bureau in New Delhi