The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi cool to Malaysia probe pledge

New Delhi/Hyderabad, March 11: Malaysia today promised to investigate Sunday’s police raid on 270 Indian IT professionals in Kuala Lumpur and their manhandling and detention, but India was not satisfied with the response.

“We have received the protest from the Indian government. There are a number of serious allegations of abuse of power and wrongdoing as well as mistreatment made against the police,” Malaysian foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar was quoted by agencies as saying in the lobby of the Malaysian parliament this afternoon.

“We take such complaints very seriously and we will investigate the matter in a transparent manner and let the Indian government know the outcome of this investigation,” he said.

Many of the software engineers who suffered at the hands of the police were from Andhra Pradesh, prompting chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to send an SOS to the Prime Minister. He sought protection for nearly 300 non-resident software engineers from the state.

Naidu wrote all the IT professionals had valid visas from the Malaysian embassy and work permits from their multinational employers. “It is a misfortune that while the Malaysian officials come to Hyderabad to recruit software engineers to work for them, they ill-treat the Indian workers,” Naidu wrote.

The state has also despatched teams to Delhi and Kuala Lumpur to study the situation and provide all relief possible.

An angry New Delhi appeared unmoved by the Malaysian assurance. Foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said this evening that “no satisfactory” answer has come as yet from Malaysia on why Indians were treated so.

He called the police action “high handed and uncalled for”. “Things can’t quickly go back to business as usual unless we have a proper explanation and until we are satisfied that the root cause of this has been gone into.”

The Centre, however, has decided to hold its fire for the time being.

“We are not satisfied, but we do appreciate the assurance of an investigation into the incident given by the Malaysian foreign minister,” a senior South Block official said.

He said Delhi would wait for a few days for the inquiry report before deciding on its course of action.

Malaysian entrepreneur development minister Mohamad Nzari Abdul Aziz, in Delhi on a visit, echoed Albar when he said: “This alleged ill-treatment of Indians is also not acceptable to us. If true, we will take action against those concerned.”

Law and justice minister Arun Jaitley, who met Aziz today, expressed shock and displeasure at the incident.

“We have expressed our anguish and concern over the incident. The Indian nationals in large numbers with valid visas were detained and ill-treated,” Jaitley said after meeting Aziz.

Textile minister Kashiram Rana, too, drove home the grievance when he met Aziz later.

Aziz is scheduled to meet human resource development minister Murli Manohar Joshi tomorrow, when the latter, too, will hammer home India’s displeasure and concern.

In Kuala Lumpur, Albar said Sunday’s incident was part of the ongoing police drive against illegal workers in Malaysia and was not directed against any one nation.

He said 165 people, including Indians, were arrested on Sunday and all but six Indians and three Pakistanis were released.

According to official Andhra estimates, nearly 7,000 IT professionals from the state work in South-East Asia and 120,000 in the US and Europe.

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