Opposition political parties yesterday challenged a government ban on a Hindu rights group that led a mass rally last November alleging discrimination against ethnic Indians. The government on Wednesday declared illegal the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), a group that represented Malaysia's ethnic Indian minority, because it 'posed a threat to public order and morality'. 'Hindraf is a danger, and its style and tactics is dividing society and causing anger between Indians and Malays. They are destabilising the country,' home minister Syed Hamid Albar said yesterday. He compared Hindraf to a 'malignant virus' that needed to be stopped. However, opposition lawmaker Murugesan Kulasegaran, who tabled an emergency motion in parliament yesterday in a bid to overturn the ban, said the government's actions were 'completely unwarranted'. The motion is to be debated on Monday. Mr Kulasegaran said the government's 'big stick' would likely force Hindraf underground. Five Hindraf leaders have already been detained under the draconian Internal Security Act. Hindraf chairman Waythamoorthy Ponnusamy fled to London after the November demonstrations and remains there in self-imposed exile. Yesterday, Mr Waythamoorthy said the 'spirit of Hindraf' would live on despite the ban, which would be challenged in court. 'Hindraf represents a very deep feeling experienced in the hearts and souls of millions of Indians,' he said. Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, said: 'This action strikes at the heart of a climate of freedom and debate the government had allowed in recent years'. Hindraf launched legal action against the British government last August claiming it took Indians to Malaysia in the 19th century to work in rubber plantations, only to later 'abandon' them to face discrimination by Malays. The suit is yet to be heard in court.