Six children being returned to Marimuthu to be brought up as Hindus — habeas corpus application for Suresh/Revathi case

A settlement was reached at the Shah Alam High Court this morning following the habeas corpus application filed by Karpal Singh on behalf of rubber tapper Marimuthu Periasamy for the release of his wife Raimah Bibi a/p Noordin and six children, Yoogneswary 12, Paramila 11, Hariharan 8, Ravindran 5, Shamala 5 and Keberan 4 from detention by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department since 2nd April 2007 on the ground that they were Muslims.

Periasamy has filed a supporting affidavit stating that he and his wife were at all material times of the Indian race and they practiced and professed the Hindu religion. They brought up their children in the Hindu religion and beliefs.

Their children were given Indian names and they had lived in peace without interruption even though they earn a modest living.

Things changed in the morning of 2nd April 2007 when seven officers acting on behalf of the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) raided their residence in Kampung Baru Tambahan, Ulu Yang, Selangor, detaining his wife and six children and forcibly took them away from their house. Marimuthu was threatened with “khalwat” if he attempted to stop them.

When the Shah Alam High Court sat this morning, Karpal informed Justice Su Geok Yian that the habeas corpus application had been overtaken by events as a settlement has been reached with Raimah filing an affidavit that she remained a Muslim and that she has agreed that the six children be returned to the father to be brought up as Hindus – which is to be done later today. Raimah was in court and she confirmed the arrangement with Justice Su.

This is a sort of a solution to a very human problem affecting the parties concerned, although it is not a very happy arrangement as it leaves many issues open-ended which may cause problems in the future.

It is sad and tragic that a happy couple and united family with seven children as a result of 21 years of marriage should be broken up by religious factors when family unity and love should be the paramount concern of all religions.

Something is very wrong with our society and nation when a 21-year happy and united family could be broken up like the case of Marimuthu, Raimah and their seven children.

The authorities concerned, whether federal or state, should ensure that there will no more break-up of families because of religion, creating human tragedies, family disruptions and a bad international image of the country.

I told the media at the Shah Alam High court that we are prepared to render assistance in the Revathi case, in the form of support by Karpal for habeas corpus application.

Revathi Masoosai/Siti Fatimah’s 100-day detention for Islamic rehabilitation had been extended by the Malacca Syariah Court for another 80 days, and is forcibly separated from her husband, Suresh Veerapan and 15-month old baby.

The Suresh/Revathi case was the feature of an Al-Jazeera programme for a week.

  1. #1 by Jimm on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 12:36 pm

    Our generations to come will rather stay in space to avoid being treated in this manner. Look at the children and the trauma that they have to go through for the rest of their life in trying to understand about faith.
    We should have know better.

  2. #2 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 12:43 pm

    Does this not represent a conflict of law – religious as opposed to civil?

    This serves to compound the legal problems we already face although I am happy for one of the parents. It raises a host of other issues.

    A Muslim by legal definition marries a Hindu and undergoes a civil ceremony. What does that make her?? A Hindu? As a Muslim (albeit a practicing Hindu) the syariah court has jurisdiction over her as she has first to convert. She did not convert. She in fact never left the jurisdiction of the syariah court.

    And now a civil court which never had jurisdiction over her decides to release her!

  3. #3 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 12:49 pm

    The children were conceived out of wedlock. What does that make them? Illegitimate children?

    Where does that leave Pariasamy – if not chargeable with the commission of the crime of khalwat?

  4. #4 by dawsheng on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 1:28 pm

    It is worrying to see how twisted some of the muslims in Malaysia can be, actions such as JAIS are totally inhuman and antisocial behavior. How can the govt expect better racial harmony when they allowed muslims to break up families of non-muslims?

  5. #5 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 1:38 pm

    khalwat is a crime applicable only to Muslims in Malaysia.

    There is a good article in today’s Star on Islam by Prof SHAD SALEEM FARUQI.
    Surprisingly the government has not heeded his wise counsel.

    The poll on my blog on Islam and judges in the secular court shows very little difference in opinion after 100 votes and now 200 votes.

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 1:46 pm

    A mother’s gallant sacrifice. She reached a “settlement” so that her children can go free.

    Did she have a choice? If she did not agree, what then would be the situation?

    She had always insisted that she was brought up a Hindu and practised Hinduism. But the Islamic religious authorities had insisted that she is a “born Muslim” because her mother was a Muslim, and as such she would forever be a Muslim even if she did not believe in the religion. That was it. So she is stuck with no choice.

    So she makes the ultimate Mothers’ Day sacrifice. She remains, so that her children can go free. A mother’s undying love for her children.

    So what of her now? Will she, now considered an eternal muslim, be able to live with her Hindu husband and children? Will she be ever free of this nightmare and predicament?

    Is there a “victory” here for anyone?

    What of the many ex-muslims who were able to leave the religion in the past when things were much easier and less emotional then? Will they now be considered as Muslims still, especially when they die and buried as one?

    Raimah’s case has set the tone and precedent for many others, where the religious department will always have their way. No doubt the media will now have afield day and blare out how “understanding, tolerant and fair” they were in releasing the 7 children.

  7. #7 by dawsheng on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 2:04 pm

    You are right sherriff, these morons will continue to violate human rights in the name of Islam. We have seen how they were given an inch but now going for a feet. And after that do you think these bigots will be satisfied? Of course not, not until they proven that they are the most superior beings in Malaysia but I wonder how that is? Human right violations will lead us to a disastrous outcome, as we have seen in many countries. Malaysia is a tickling time bomb.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 2:05 pm

    As I understand it, Raimah Bibi Noordin, is also an ethnic Indian like her husband Marimuthu Periasamy. Though Raimah claimed to be a practicing Hindu, however she was adopted by an Indian Muslim family when she was young.

    As I understand it, anyone born into a Muslim family is unable to legally convert : but what about someone like Raimah not born into but “adopted” by Indian Muslim family via adoption procedures according to civil laws? Is she still considered “born into a Muslim family” when she was adopted via civil procedures and made statutory declaration that she was practising Hindu?

    (The facts were her old identity card stipulated she was an Indian Hindu, but the government listed her as a Muslim after she applied for a new identity card earlier this year. Religious authorities probably learned about Raimah’s religious status when the couple enrolled their children in school and copies of her new identity card were submitted to the Education Department. Moral of the story here is don’t change the IC if ine is in such a situation).

    It looks to me like Raimah’s filing an affidavit that she remained a Muslim in exchange for release of the six children to be returned to the father to be brought up as Hindus is a personal sacrifice by a mother for the love of her children to be released back to the father to be brought up as Hindus.

    It appears to be a practical compromise but the logic of it as Undergrad2 poses is difficult to reconcile. If she were to remain a Muslim implies that she admits she has been muslim all along in contradiction of her earlier claim to be practising Hindu.

    In the premises, if she as a then Muslim married Marimuthu Periasamy through civil rites, it necessarily implies that their marriage involving a muslim under civil law is a nullity and void, and their children were born out of wedlock (no derogatory implication on my part here).

    What has been done in insisting Raimah to profess that she is still muslim in exchange quid pro quo for the liberty of her children is to (1) make Raimah profess to a religion that she otherwise will not freely consent to do if her children’s interest were not at stake and (2) an otherwise valid marriage under civil law between Marimuthu Periasamy and Raimah has been invalidated and dealt the death knell.

    In the premises the ‘compromise’ still represents break-up of a marriage – and family – because of religious factors. The profession that she remained a muslim would not appear voluntary in the backdrop of the events unfolding so far involving a trade off for her children’s release. This has greater implications on the constitutional provisions of Freedom of Religion, whether it is of relevance or force anymore.

  9. #9 by Tai Lo Chin on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 2:20 pm

    Is there a “victory” here for anyone? – Sheriff Singh asked
    This one is phyrric victory for those wanting to retain one more member within the religion under such circumstances where there is no voluntariness, and children’s are held in hostage against mother’s love on the coming Mother’s Day. It doesn’t advance the Cause of the religion and spread the message of compassion if it done this way by the zealots. Why do the authorities not have the will to stop this kind of thing which is affecting the image of the country negatively and makes nonsense of the constitutional protection on freedom of religion?

  10. #10 by pwcheng on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 2:32 pm

    Islam is a beautiful religion but had been usurp by politics in this bolehland or bodohland, whichever you want to call it. The politicians had defaced it to such an extent that the beauty is lost and became a nightmare for many.

    We know it is because they had the power and they can do all these, but God never guarantee that you will have power eternally. I remembered during those colonial days there were many muslims who converted to Christians to take advantage of British special privilege to people of Christian faith. My immediate neighbor in a small kampung in Perak was one of them and he even got a gun license subsequently. We are just having another colonial master, that’s all; Probably for the Chinese it is from the frying pan into he fire.

  11. #11 by k1980 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 2:38 pm

    In view of our democratic and caring govt’s return of 6 children to marimutu (while still keeping his wife), we should rename our beloved country as “Democratic Malaysia” in keeping with the other great ‘democracies’ in the world today such as the ‘Democratic’ People’s Republic of Korea and the ‘Democratic’ Republic of Congo. (Two other great ‘democracies’ have being overthrown viz the German ‘Democratic’ Republic and ‘Democratic’ Khampucheau) How nice it is to be allowed to live in this great democratic country compared to other ‘totalitarian’ regimes such as singapore and australia!

  12. #12 by k1980 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 2:56 pm

    To pwcheng May 3rd, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    We are just having another colonial master… but ever heard of the NEP, ‘Pusat Pemulihan Akidah’, matriculation for bumis and STPM for non-bumis, ASN for bumis only ect ect under the previous colonial master?

  13. #13 by awesome on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 3:21 pm

    What can I say? It is sad when one is forced or told that one’s religion is such and such. Where is the freedom of choice? If one is born of one religion and converts to another…is it wrong? Don’t we have the right to do so as a human? Or is it forced down our throats. Is that practice militant?

    Where is the beauty of freedom of choice what to believe? Can parents give their children that freedom? Or are they bound by law not to do so? Is law a yoke that weighs down a person?

    Aren’t laws and rules made for justice to reign? What is reigning now – pressure?

    Is it wrong to voice out our concern over this issues? Why do we all have to see Islam as a religion that puts pressure on her followers? Where is mercy and kindness?

    Can one convert from Islam to Christianity or any other religion? Why is it seen as apostasy? Why that does not happen to any other religion? Why are the converts punished or have their rights snatched?

    Really can any Malay be a Malay and not a muslim? Why MUST a Malay be a muslim? Isn’t it forced down their throat? Is this just?

    In Indonesia, a Indonesian can be either Malay or Christian or free, no problem. They marry freely and no problems. Many Malaysians look down on Indonesians but Indons have more kindness in this aspect. Mind you it is the highest population of Muslims.

    So are we really a free country – you tell me!

    Somehow I feel people are fighting for their God which only goes to show that perhaps their God must be weak and must be defended for and protected…do you get that feeling? Strange, isn’t it? Can God be allowed to fight for Himself? After all He is Almighty and I believe He is also all Loving unlike wicked human beings!

  14. #14 by Loh on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 3:27 pm

    ///Raimah filing an affidavit that she remained a Muslim and that she has agreed that the six children be returned to the father to be brought up as Hindus.///

    Does it mean that JAIS agrees with the arrangement, meaning that they agree that the six children are Hindus rather than Muslim? So JAIS agreed that it could only force one person rather than seven to become muslim.

    So, Raimah is now considered divorced? Is JAIS responsible to look after Raimah’s livelihood?

    The JAIS’s action tells the world that the government of Malaysia has a government department which is busy breaking up non-Muslim families when there is a slightest likelihood that one of the member can be considered a muslim. Has the Islamic religion benefited from the episode? Why hurt others unnecessarily?

  15. #15 by a-malaysian on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 3:27 pm

    Malaysia, lead by bodohwi is preaching to the whole world that the country practices religious freedom.

    Well, well, well this case prove exactly the opposite.

    All non muslim must unite to stop this nonsense. The umno islam is worst than PAS and what do our so call rep from mca and mic have to say. Nothing, Nada, Zilt, Zero……

    Calling all mca and mic members, you all know the real and the true reasons, no need to talk cock anymore.

    Leave mca, mic and join DAP or PKR or any opposition of your choice. Forget about bn which in actual fact is only umno. mca and mic have no say whatever concerning the chinese and indian population in bn.

    Be a man face the truth leave mca, mic and join the opposition now.
    If you are concern with the little crumps left behind by umno that you may miss, then by all means remain in mca, mic and be their running dogs.

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  16. #16 by Jan on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 4:57 pm

    It’s unbelievable the amount of really wicked people in this country. Breaking up families, body snatching etc etc and the one that tops all is the one said by a certain son in law who wanted to defend his race and religion. He went to to “defend” his race by putting down the other races. He’s the biggest hypocrite I’ve ever seen.

  17. #17 by Libra2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 5:05 pm

    Even animals don’t take away the young ones from their mothers.
    It is inhuman, barbaric and uncivilized to forcefully separate the mother from her six children.
    Knowing too well what Indian women are capable of, the bigots who did this will be held responsible if she goes into depression and commits suicide.
    Any mother will be traumatised by a separation of this nature. This women must be going through hell right now but do these religious bigots care. If they think they are doing this to defend their religion I can assure them they will rot in hell for this.

  18. #18 by lakshy on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 5:29 pm

    What a sad end! The family is still split up.

    When I studied in Canada, I stayed with a family that was from the West Indies. The man is a muslim, his wife is Hindu. They raised their children as hindus, even to the extent of all becoming vegetarians. No one converted to anyone else’s religion. And they are a happy family, without any state interference in their choice of religion.

    Religion is a personal matter between one and his beliefs, and no two muslims think alike, just like no two Hindus think alike. Does that make anyone of them more or less a muslim or hindu?

  19. #19 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 5:55 pm

    Dr M’s latest remarks will surely stir things up as he says that Malays can convert if they are willing to give up their special prvileges.

  20. #20 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 6:00 pm

    Considering the constitutional role of Islam, the constitutional safeguards against proselytizing etc can somebody explain how a mother could be allowed to “sign away”, so to speak, her children to another faith?

    The faith of the children before they come of age, in any case, follows that of the father. Since the father technically has to be a Muslim to be married to one, I’m surprised how JAIS refrained from sending the father to rehab.

    This case now opens more doors than it closes.

    After all the mental gymnastics are finished and done with, I am not surprised if we end up with our noses smelling our asses.

  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 6:24 pm

    Mahathir says Malays are free to convert out of their religion so long as they give up their special privileges? Does this not imply that those who do not are not doing it so as not to lose theirs?

    It amazes me how Mahathir now out of power continues to throw monkey wrenches into the government’s machinery in the hope of stalling it!

    How will the rest of the Arab Muslim world now view his thoughts on the matter? What of the many decorations and titles bestowed upon him when he was seen as leader of the Muslim of the world this side of the hemisphere?

  22. #22 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 6:37 pm

    With this decision by Justice Su, we have now missed the opportunity of seeing the matter and many other constitutional issues go before the Appeals Court. It would be interesting then to see if the multitude of issues it raises would then go to the highest court in the country – the Federal Court.

    Had Justice Su, consistent with and in line with the thinking and direction given by the country’s highest court the Federal Court on the matter of jurisdiction in another case, declined jurisdiction of the habeas corpus matter then the constitutional issues that it would have raised would have gone to the Appeals Court and finally back to haunt the Federal Court justices!

    Still it would be interesting to watch in which direction the BN government would go – or if it would pick up the pieces at all.

  23. #23 by dawsheng on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 7:02 pm

    The govt is leading the rakyats into the paths of no return. BN leaders actions and in-actions tell us they does not have a solution, or not intending to solve the problems at all. They have even confessed that UMNO politicians cannot convince their own people with matters regard to Islam to the extent they are allow to committ inhuman action against non-muslims. That’s a fact and the guardian of chinese and indians suddenly found their balls missing, stay quiet and let their own kind suffers, they know how sensitives the guardian of malays are, how not to be sensitives when one is malay, UMNO and Islam all at the same time? That’s a recipe for disaster.

  24. #24 by madmix on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 7:25 pm

    Mahathir says can leave Islam but no bumi status after that. Unfortunately not many people listen to Mahathir these days.

  25. #25 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 7:48 pm

    “So, Raimah is now considered divorced? ” Loh

    How could she be considered divorced when she was never married?

    Are these not the kind of mental gymnastics that we would have to do? Are we required to be contortionists so as to be able to understand such issues? In that case I would not be surprised if Malaysians end up with their noses to their asses!

  26. #26 by Loh on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 8:39 pm

    From what TDM has said, the provision of article 153 contributes to the strength in number of Muslims in the country. Shouldn’t OIC compensate non-Malays in Malaysia for their sufferings so that the number of Malay muslims grows?

  27. #27 by hanuman on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 9:33 pm

    To QUOTE akshy “Religion is a personal matter …” IT IS SOMETHING RPIVATE. LET IT BE SO.



  28. #28 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 9:49 pm

    According to Dr Mahathir, whether a person is a Malay is not determined by race he is born but the aggregate religio-cultural definition of three characteristics defined in the Constitution – one who speaks the Malay language, practices Malay customs and follows the religion of Islam. According to him there is another qualification : “ Why not? People would still be Malay, (unofficially) but officially, he would not be a Malay. Being a Malay in this country has certain privileges, so he wouldn’t enjoy those privileges.”

    If that’s the case, the converse should apply, a person not born a malay (could be an Indian or Chinese) who speaks the Malay language, practices Malay customs and follows the religion of Islam, he too could qualify officially to become a Malay and entitled to all Bumi privileges – though unofficially he is not but, in reality, is he treated such? I don’t think so, not unless he is mixed parentage and looks like a Malay too. It is heads they win and tails we lose situation.

  29. #29 by accountability on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 10:05 pm

    forcing someone to convert into a religion they do not profess or practice by taking away their children and separating them from their spouse…

    …doesn’t sound like something a good religion will preach and encourage

    but then again, what we have in malaysia is political Islam twisted by greed and racism…

  30. #30 by bbtan on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 10:22 pm

    I dont think the mother was allowed to “sign away” her children to another faith. I believe, as far as JAIS is concerned, the children were born out of islam and so they must be “released”.
    Be informed, there is no compromise in Islam. Muslims in Malaysia must follow the Koran and the Hadith.

  31. #31 by bbtan on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 10:34 pm

    hanuman, you may say that religion is private, but it is not to the other Malaysians. The religion we talk about has affected our lives beyond our control.

  32. #32 by hanuman on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 11:16 pm


    If u remember the words of John Lennon’s song IMAGINE.

    “Imagine there’s no Heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one”


  33. #33 by greenacre on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 11:54 pm

    The children having been returned to the father and many here are rejoicing the fact some form of solution had been found. Actually more to come if what the Deputy Minister of Interior Ministry aka Tan Chye Ho who stated it in 8 th February 2007 (see Star ‘the peoples Paper?)
    Since one party was found/stated to be a muslim, there cannot exist a valid marriage…and I quote the Minister “child of unregistered marriage partner( sure one!) is illegal thus the Birth Certificate will carry the following term…anal luar nikah’ for all purposes this means a bastard child. Beautiful malaysian law. However this is certainly contrary to UN Human Rights Declaration article 25(2) and the convention on the Rights of child. Is malaysia a signatory to this? I don’t think so. More shame and trouble ahead for this children when they begin/already schooling.

  34. #34 by undergrad2 on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 1:41 am

    ““If he renounces Islam, then he is not a Malay. That’s all,” Mahathir said.

    One can revoke or renounce one’s nationality or citizenship. But how does one revoke or renounce one’s ethnicity??

  35. #35 by kurakura on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 8:34 am

    Dr M himself is not really a Malay.

  36. #36 by Jonny on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:24 am

    Pak Lah / UMNO wants the answer why the Chinese swing in the Ijok by-election.

    Here – this is one of the answer.


    Definitely one of the greatest Mother’s Day sacrifice by the mother for her children’s future. Heart wrenching for me to read the article.

  37. #37 by Loh on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:26 am

    TDM’s statement supports article 11(1) of the Federal constitution. He says it because now because he does not have to be responsible for his words, and it adds one more issue for “Ta’ Tahu” PM AAB.

    So, Malay Muslims in this country consist of those who profess the Islamic faith, and also those who profess Article 153, and does not mind to be known as Muslim. Article 160(2) on the definition of Malay provides convenience for Indian muslims, since speaking Malay language is just a natural process, and practicing Malay culture does not require the person to give up his own culture. Indian muslims are the winning class because they can be Malay in Malaysia, and yet call themselves Indian or Pakistani when in India. The true Malays may not still be aware of the Mamak trick, though Tunku was clear about the distinction between Malay and Mamak. But he did not get UMNO to right the wrong, and in the process UMNO was hijacked for decades.

  38. #38 by Loh on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:32 am

    ///In that case I would not be surprised if Malaysians end up with their noses to their asses!/// Undergrad2

    Don’t be, because you are one. It is normal to think that the couple is married after having produced 6 children. It must have been a crooked mind to think that they are not. Yes, you can pretend to use the little legal knowlege, or common sence you have to speculate.

    You have no respect for others, and I have to do the same to you. I am sorry that Kit’s blog has been misused, including this message of mine.

  39. #39 by DiaperHead on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 3:27 pm

    This is the first time I came across someone who feels that you have to be married to produce children.

    “It is normal to think that the couple is married after having produced 6 children.” Loh


  40. #40 by Godamn Singh on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:51 pm

    “common sence”? or common sense?

    Just my two cents.

  41. #41 by DiaperHead on Sunday, 6 May 2007 - 3:04 am

    Loh, for an old man like yourself you’re very naive in thinking that one must be married to have children! Was that what your mother told you when you were 40 years old and unmarried?

  42. #42 by sampuna on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 1:34 pm

    This case is indeed an ugly case.There has been no case like this, and many others of similar nature.It is unique only to MALAYSIA.Just look at Indonesia,a continent with the most Muslims.Religion is a personal choice there.A Muslim bridegroom & a Buddhist bride can marry legally and have children who profess different faiths. And just look at how the non-Muslim community in malaysia,religion is no big fuss.A Buddhist can marry a Hindu,a Christian can marry a Sikh etc and religion again, i stress is a personal choice.Islam,in the first place is not a religion forced upon unbelievers.I know of non-Muslims who married Muslims, but ate non-halal food.They married out of love for their spouse.

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