S. Banggarma – The ‘Hindu Lina Joy’


This is what would happen if former Muslim, now Christian Lina Joy tried to go ahead and get married to her Christian fiance.

Of special note is the cruel omission on the children’s birth certificates.

From The Star 20 Nov 2009:

Eight years on and woman can’t register marriage
By WINNIE YEOH

GEORGE TOWN: Even though Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah, whose original name is S. Banggarma, has been married for eight years, she is still unable to register her marriage.

This is because she is listed as a Muslim while her husband is a Hindu.

The 27-year-old woman, who preferred to be known as Banggarma, said she has been practising Hinduism all this while although she was converted to Islam at the age of seven.

Banggarma said she and her three siblings were handed over to the Rumah Kanak Kanak Taman Bakti orphanage in Kepala Batas when she was about five by the Social Welfare Department after they were found wandering in the streets.

On Dec 28, 1989, she was converted to Islam before the Penang Kadi after she was taken to the kadi’s office by officers from the state Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) and Majlis Agama Islam Pulau Pinang.

Banggarma said she had no clear memory of the incident until she was 18 when she wanted to get married.

“I ran away from the home with my friends when I was 16 and did not take any documents with me.

“So, when I wanted to get married at 18, I went back to the home to collect my documents. I was given the Muslim conversion certificate,” she said at a press conference called by Kedah PKR Youth deputy chief Gooi Hsiao Leung at his office here yesterday.

Her husband, S. Sockalingam, 31, a fisherman, said he had a shock when they went to the National Registration Department and found out that she is a Muslim.

“We couldn’t register our marriage after our temple wedding in Tanjung Piandang in March 2001 since she was a Muslim,” he said.

Banggarma said the column in her two children’s birth certificate under the father’s details stated “maklumat tidak diperolehi (information not available)”.

As I have said before, we don’t want ‘Ketuanan Cina’ or ‘Ketuanan India’, or to remove the national status of Bahasa Melayu and Islam, or even to the Sultans as our nominal rulers.

We just want to be given our basic human rights and not be discriminated against in official policy. That is what will unite Malaysia – when all are treated equally, as Malaysians.

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5 Responses to “S. Banggarma – The ‘Hindu Lina Joy’”

  1. Adifferentview Says:

    Be reminded, it’s a one-way street and you enter at your peril. Fall in love with a sweet, pretty girl and marry her which means conversion (and potong!), and you and your family may repent forever.

  2. 23456 Says:

    the people should be given equal rights. how is 1malaysia going to be fullfilled whith discrimination against other race/religion still going on?

  3. hoho Says:

    quantity yes, quality hmmmmm. isn’t there such a thing call free will.
    if they change the law on conversion today, wonder how many will “jump ship”.

  4. Mihir Meghani Says:

    Hindu American Foundation Condemns Malaysian Court’s Religiously Discriminatory Verdict

    Washington, D.C. (August 5, 2010) – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned Malaysia’s High Court decision denying 28 year old Siti Hasnah Banggarma the right to change her religion back to Hinduism. After a long, drawn out court battle, Banggarma was left with little hope as Justice Mohammed Yacoob of Malaysia’s secular court referred the case contesting her conversion to the Shariah court for Muslims.

    Banggarma, born a Hindu, claimed that state authorities forcibly converted her to Islam at the age of seven while she was under the care of a government-run orphanage. She later married a Hindu in a traditional Hindu ceremony, but could not officially register her marriage nor could she list her Hindu husband as the father of their children on birth certificates. Malaysian law requires any non-Muslim marrying a Muslim to convert to Islam before a marriage is legally recognized.

    “The right to religious freedom has continued to erode in Malaysia, and minorities continue to suffer,” said Professor Ramesh Rao, HAF’s Human Rights Coordinator. “This case, which was covered in HAF’s 2009 human rights report, is yet another of example of officially sanctioned religious discrimination and coercion.”

    Although Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, minorities, particularly ethnic Indians and Hindus, have continued to face serious discrimination over the years. HAF’s annual Hindu human rights report, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2009, documented the discrimination, intimidation and persecution faced by Malaysia’s minority Hindu population. The Foundation has also supported the work of Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), a Malaysian human rights organization, that monitors, documents and publicly highlights human rights abuses faced by the country’s minority Hindu population.

    “We hope that Banggarma will eventually be permitted to return to the faith of her birth,” continued Professor Rao. “HAF will continue to monitor this case along with the litany of human rights abuses in Malaysia.“

  5. High Court must hear Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah’s application to leave islam | simonthongwh Says:

    [...] S. Banggarma – The ‘Hindu Lina Joy’ [...]

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