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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cnntact Person: Vikram Masson
(201) 674-2065
navyashastra@shastras.org
(www.shastras.org)

Navya Shastra condemns the Government of Malaysia for anti-Hindu discrimination

Troy, Michigan--November 25, 2007--Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization, vociferously condemns the Malaysian government for its maltreatment of the Hindu and the greater Indian population in the country. The government has been wantonly destroying Hindu temples with active congregations for over a year under the flimsiest of pretexts, including claims that 200 year-old structures occupy "illegal" property. To close observers, Malaysia appears to be sliding towards a theocratic abyss, and its vibrant secular traditions-- in which the 150 year old Indian community has played a significant role building--are under imminent threat.

On November 25, the government forcibly harassed and tear-gassed Indian protesters who gathered at the behest of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), to protest the religious and economic marginalization of the once-vibrant community. Indians in Malaysia comprise 7 percent of the country's population. Despite the government's disruptive efforts, at least 10,000 people managed to attend the rally and voice their protest. One Navya Shastra member who participated in the rally reported anonymously: "We have changed the political equations at home and inspired minorities everywhere. We walked the talk. We smelled the tear gas and it swelled our chests. Like Rosa Parks we said, 'No!'"

Navya Shastra stands in complete solidarity with the Hindu community and all other minorities in Malaysia who are the victims of government persecution. "We call on multinational corporations who are doing business in Malaysia to reassess their positions in light of the human rights violations and religious discrimination taking place in the country," said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman. "In addition, we call upon responsible political leaders in Malaysia and the United Nations to take collective action to insure that secularism prevails in the nation," she added.