All 11 members of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), who were arrested under the Societies Act after they held an illegal gathering outside the prime minister's office on Thursday, have been released.
Their release was greeted with shouts of joy and relief by about 100 family members and supporters of the outlawed movement who stationed themselves outside the district police station as early as 9.30am today.
The group was accompanied by a battery of lawyers, including Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, and a few Pakatan Rakyat MPs.
Their release was signed at about noon by Kajang magistrate’s court registrar Bonney Empoh, who was escorted into the police station about 11am.
No untoward incident was reported despite the presence of the Light Strike Force and traffic personnel who were deployed to control the crowd.
Gobind said all of them were released on RM1,000 police bail each. "They have to report to the station again in one month's time.
"We were told that the police were still investigating their cases before forwarding their recommendations to the Attorney-General's Chambers," he added.
A police spokesman said all of them were freed to enable them to celebrate Deepavali.
"Although the police, under the law, could extend their remand orders to facilitate investigations, yet on humanitarian ground they were released to enable them to celebrate the festive occasion," the spokesman added.
All those released, including the man who had to be admitted to Putrajaya Hospital on Thursday night due to medical complications and the woman who fainted while explaining the conditions of the police lock-up to a magistrate on Friday when they were remanded, were in good spirit.
They were spotted smiling and waving to the crowd who also came with bouquets of flowers.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had said the action against the banned movement should not be construed as a clampdown on Indians or Hinduism by the government.
The action taken so far, he said, was simply because of their association with militancy and their extremist views.
Under Section 48 of the Societies Act, those convicted could face a maximum five years' imprisonment or slapped with a maximum fine of RM15,000.