The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Only words from Malaysia

New Delhi, March 12: Three days have passed and India is yet to receive a plausible explanation from Malaysia as to why Indian information technology professionals were manhandled, handcuffed and treated as “ordinary criminals” by Kuala Lumpur police.

Although Malaysia has not apologised for the incident, the country has said the Indian allegation was being taken “very seriously” and that it would be probed.

Malaysian minister for entrepreneurial development, Nazri Abdul Aziz, who is here, described Sunday’s episode as “most unfortunate” as he tried to assure the Indian leadership that the police action was not “deliberate”.

On the face of it, however, the Indian leadership is not willing to attach this incident with the rivalry the Malaysian government has shown towards Delhi in the past. “Irrespective of what they have done, it does not take away anything from this serious incident,” a senior foreign ministry official said.

Asked how India is going to voice its protest, the official pointed out that “there are 100 counters” on which a diplomatic point could be proved. “Asking their high commissioner to leave the country is not the only option,” he added.

India’s strong protest on the “high-handed” action of the Malaysian police was lodged when Aziz met human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi this afternoon.

In an attempt to play down the incident, Aziz said: “Certainly, there is no deliberate policy against Indian nationals. If the allegations are true, action will be taken against those responsible. It must have been done by over-enthusiastic officers.”

The visiting Malaysian minister, however, assured that he would convey Delhi’s concerns on his return to Kuala Lumpur.

But what South Block mandarins are not convinced about is who asked the Malaysian police to act in an “over-enthusiastic” manner. Seldom anything happens in Kuala Lumpur without a nod from the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed. And Delhi finds it difficult to believe that on Sunday, when 270 Indian IT professionals were rounded up and nearly 160 handcuffed and dragged to the police station, it could have been done without the approval from the highest level in Malaysia.

The rivalry between India and Malaysia is over the leadership of the developing world, or, more appropriately, who dominates the Non-Aligned Movement.

Naidu SOS to Mahathir

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has requested Mahathir Mohammed for the release of the IT professionals held in Kuala Lumpur.

In his letter, Naidu said the action of the Malaysian police had come at a time when Andhra Pradesh and Malaysia were getting closer in the IT sector.

Naidu alleged that the 175 Indians — mostly from the state — were traumatised by Malaysia police.

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