Friday, December 14, 2007

Innocent devotees affected by police action at Batu Caves on 25/11/07

Inquiry needed into why innocent devotees affected by police action at Batu Caves Murugan Temple on Sunday, 25th November 2007

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam calls for an urgent and independent inquiry into the events at Batu Caves in the early hours of Sunday, 25th November 2007. Many people have complained to the Sangam that they were caught up in police action against the HINDRAF Rally when all they were doing was attending a religious ceremony in the Batu Caves temple.

Saturday night, 24th November 2007 was a special celebration for many Tamil Hindus. It was the night of Karthikai Deepam, a festival of lights of special significance to Tamils. Many celebrate it as a commemoration to Lord Arumugam, also known as Murugan or Karthikeyan, whose 6 faces were united by his mother Goddess Shakthi on the Karthikai Deepam day. Hence, devotees flock to the temples devoted to Lord Muruga that night and one such temple is of course the world famous Batu Caves temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Many devotees, having celebrated the festival, were spending the night in the Temple grounds before leaving for home the next day. Imagine their shock when in the wee hours of the morning, they were greeted by tear gas and water cannon and by a massive police presence alleging they were involved in an illegal assembly.

An urgent and independent inquiry must immediately be done to investigate how innocent devotees gathered within a place of worship were subjected to tear gas and chemical laced water cannon. The Hindu Sangam also calls on the Public Prosecutor to withdraw all charges against the devotees at the temple. Gathering at a temple for a religious ceremony cannot be deemed an illegal assembly under any circumstances.

Yours in service,

Datuk A Vaithilingam PJN, SSA, AMN, ASA, PJK
Malaysia Hindu Sangam

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