DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, has written to Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie proposing a public inquiry into the 47-day hunger strike by the Batu Gajah political detainees
I have written to the Minister of Home Affairs, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, enclosing a copy of my seven-page press conference statement after my visit to Batu Gajah detention camp on February 16. My press conference statement gave the accounts which the six political detainees I met in Batu Gajah had given me, about the causes and events surrounding the 47-day hunger strike by the Batu Gajah political detainees, together with allegations of police and prison brutalities and the severe physical injuries and mental cruelty sustained by the detainees.
In my letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, I pressed for a public inquiry into the hunger strike to satisfy national and international opinion on the matter.
My letter to the Minister reads:
“The letter to the Minister of Home Affairs.”
I wish first of all to thank the Minister of Home Affairs for permission to visit the Batu Gajah detention camp and meet representatives of the political detainees there.
The detainees whom I met made very serious and well-documented allegations of police and prison brutalities which, if not fully investigated into, will be a blot on the record of government in its treatment of political detainees.
Whatever counter-arguments the police and prison authorities have against these allegations, I am convinced that they are so serious and weighty that only a full-scale public inquiry into the causes and events surrounding the 47-day hunger strike can do justice to this matter.
The inquiry can also profitably inquire into whether more tact and finesse on the part of the detention authorities on December 29, 1973 could not have avoided an escalation of the confrontation between the detainees and the authorities, leading to the 47-day hunger strike and the very real accounts about police and prison brutalities on the detainees, and the severe injuries sustained by the majority of the detainees.
I therefore earnestly urge you to hold a public inquiry, headed by a High Court Judge, to thoroughly investigate into this serious episode at Batu Gajah and Taiping detention camps, to satisfy not only national, but also international opinion.
If the allegations about police and prison brutalities are true, then those officers who are guilty of excesses should be disciplined. If the allegations are not true, then the record should not be put straight.
Finally, I enclose a copy of my press conference statement on my meeting with representatives of the political detainees at Batu Gajah detention camp on 16th February, from which you would agree that the allegations are very grave which warrant the fullest public investigation.