Monday, January 11, 2016

Solidarity Walk for Indira Gandhi not about religion, says Kula

Hafiz Yatim

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran said the Solidarity Walk in support of M Indira Gandhi is an outreach programme addressed to educate the public on the impact of the Court of Appeal decision regarding the case of the kindergarten teacher, and how it may affect everyone.

It was held in Karak and Federal Territory last week and now moves to the Polo Ground in Ipoh this Saturday. Next week it will be held in Seremban and Klang.

Kulasegaran, who is also Indira's lawyer, said the programme is to highlight her plight as a mother who has not seen her youngest daughter Prasana Diksa for almost six years, after the child was abducted by the father when she was 11 months old.

“Indira has yet to see her youngest child despite the court order, issued by the civil court, for her former husband K Pathmanathan @ Mohd Ridhuan Abdullah to return the child.

“This is not a religious issue but a human issue of a mother trying to reunite with her youngest child whom she has not seen for almost six years. What happened to Indira, can happen to anyone,” said the DAP national vice-chairperson.

Prasana Diksa or Ummu Habibah is still said to be staying with Ridhuan in Kelantan, and the Federal Court has yet to decide on whether the police can be compelled to act to find the child following the order made by the civil court to find the child.


Kulasegaran (photo) said the event to be held in Ipoh is organised by the Perak Women for Women Society, an apolitical non-profit NGO, set up in 2003 to enhance the status and lives of women in Perak irrespective of their race, religion and social background.

He added that the programme is to reach out to the public irrespective of their race and religion over how that decision could affect each and everyone.

“The Court of Appeal ruled that administration regarding Islam is under the purview of the Syariah Court. However, the problem is does the Syariah Courts have the jurisdiction to review a decision made by the administrative act (Registrar of Muallaf) in this matter.”

“The dissenting judgment by Justice Hamid Sultan (Abu Backer) showed that such administrative acts can be challenged by judicial review and it is not exclusive only to the Syariah Court.

Justice Hamid Sultan in his dissenting judgment had declared that the conversion of Indira's children to be illegal as it was done without the consent of Indira, and the children did not recite the Kalimah Shahadah (affirmation of faith).

Hence, the minority judgment said the decision by the Registrar of Muallaf to issue the certificate can be questioned via judicial review.

Kulasegaran warned the dangers of the Court of Appeal decision as highlighted by lawyer Azizan Harun, or better known as Art Harun, in his video over a hypothetical situation where a liberal Malay woman wanting to renew her driving licence not being allowed to do so as she was dressed inadequately.

“Does it mean she cannot question the decision by Road Transport Department in the civil court, or that because she is a Muslim she has to go to seek redress at the Syariah Court? This shows the decision made by Registrar of Muallaf, if wrong, can be challenged and this can be done at the civil court which has judicial review powers,” Kula said.

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