"It's very shocking," Malayalam told the Associated Press news agency.

"This is a clear victimisation of the Indians by bringing forth a malicious prosecution that is race-based."

Illegal assembly

Manoharan said the 26 Indians were arrested during the rally and several of them have already been charged for illegal assembly.

They had been released on bail but were re-arrested at their homes before dawn on Tuesday.

"This has nothing to do with race"

Abdul Gani Patail, Malaysia's attorney-general
Abdul Gani Patail, Malaysia's attorney-general, said that the police officer had received stitches on his head after being attacked with bricks and iron pipes at the Batu caves protest.

"This has nothing to do with race," he said. "We follow the law. It applies to everyone under the sun."

Indians, which make up eight per cent of the country's 27 million people, say they suffer discrimination because of an affirmative action policy that favours Malay Muslims in jobs, education, business and government contracts.

They also complain that they are being denied their religious rights, citing the demolition of dozens of Hindu temples.

The government has rejected the accusations of discrimination and has accused the organisers of the rally of trying to create racial tensions.