Kuala Lumpur: A peaceful gathering by a pro-government ethnic Indian party and an opposition group ended with a scuffle between two sides, that left two people injured in front of the Prime Minister's office here on Thursday.

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), a component party of the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional, and several non-governmental organisations had gathered at the PMO to show their support for Premier Najib Tun Razak and the government over issues relating to the ethnic Indian community.

Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) group had also gathered there to deliver a protest note over the way 17-year-old B Reshina was stopped from attending school because she did not have proper documents.

Both groups started shouting at each other, culminating in the scuffle, which left a PKR members S Murali and K Gunasekaran injured.

Police had to intervene to separate the groups. PKR said it was only interested in getting a Malaysian identity card for Reshina, who "is a symbol for the hundreds of thousands of stateless ethnic Indians who have yet to get their identity cards"

MIC Youth chief T Mohan said the problem of stateless Indians was not because the government had neglected them, but rather due to various technicalities, including parents not registering the birth of their children.

He said the MIC had already settled 9,529 such cases and promised to take up Reshina's case with the National Registration Department.

Malaysia's population of 28 million has eight percent ethnic Indians. Several thousands do not possess the MyKad, a national identity card without which admission to schools, work, pension etc is not possible. The card is issued only if documents like registration of birth are produced.

According to reports, several ethnic Indians especially in the plantation areas failed to register births leading to the problems of non-admission to schools later on.

(Agencies)

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