Saturday, August 29, 2009

:: Relocation of temple: A cow head

Some of the residents of Section 23, protesting againts
the temple relocation, demonstrsted in front
of the Selangor State Goverment Secretariat
in Shah Alam today. Bernama pic.

Residents protest relocation of temple
V. Shankar Ganesh

SHAH ALAM: About 50 people gathered at the gates of the State Secretariat building here carrying a cow head and warned of further action if a temple is constructed in Section 23 here.
The group marched from the State Mosque about 300 metres away after Friday prayers. Once at the gates of the building, they unfurled several banners calling for the temple to be moved and also on the beer issue. They were at the gates for only 15 minutes before being dispersed by the police.

The group, who claimed to be residents from Section 23, shouted the names of Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar, and said the cow head was for them. The new temple in Section 23 was supposed to be the relocated Sri Maha Mariamman temple currently in Section 19. The Section 19 temple is about 150 years’ old and originally located in a plantation, but when the State Economic Development Corporation decided to develop the area into a housing estate, it left the temple there. It was supposed to be relocated, but the problem had been left idle for many years. Initially the temple was supposed to be relocated in an industrial area in Section 22 but it was moved to Section 23 to make it more accessible for devotees. However a group of people in the area have protested against it, saying it is a Muslim majority area and no temples should be allowed to be built there. About 40 per cent of the population in the area are believed to be Hindus. Meanwhile in an immediate response, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu strongly condemned the action by the group. “The cow is a sacred animal of the Hindus, and for this group to resort to such action, is intolerable and tantamount to challenging the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution.

He said nobody can be allowed to challenge or ridicule any religion in this country.
“I worry that this action may lead to retaliation from the Hindu community. However, I wish to urge the Hindus to be calm and let the authorities deal with it. “The MIC is calling on the Government and the police to take action against the organisers of this group and their followers. They must be punished according to the law for endangering the racial harmony in this country.” Meanwhile Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was promoting the 1Malaysia concept and racial unity, this kind of action would hinder the process and turn back the clock. Dr Subramaniam said he had spoken to Prime Minister Najib Razak on the incident.