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Temple demolition: AG steps in

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 22 @ 03:17:39 CST

ReligionMar 22, 06 4:46pm , Malaysiakini

The Attorney-General’s Chambers has requested copies of the police reports made against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) over the demolition of a 60-year-old Hindu temple in Jalan Davis.

In a letter to lawyer M Manoharan (left) - who is representing the administrators of the Sri Ayanar Satishwary Alayam - the AG Chambers said the reports would help it take the appropriate action.

A copy of the letter, dated March 21, was made available to malaysiakini today. It was signed by the prosecution division (policy) deputy head Abdul Majid Hamzah.

This was in response to a letter sent by Manoharan earlier to DBKL, which was copied to the AG Chambers.

Take action

In a letter to the AG Chambers today, the lawyer called for immediate action to be taken against DBKL enforcement deputy director Mohd Sauffi Muhammad and his men over the demolition.

Manoharan said they should be prosecuted under Section 295 and Section 298 A of the Penal Code for:

1) Injuring and defiling a place of worship with the intent to insult the Hindu religion and its followers

2) Causing disharmony, disunity and feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will and prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity on grounds of religion.

The lawyer also sent copies of four police reports on the incident to the AG Chambers.

Statues destroyed

Yesterday, malaysiakini reported that temple administrators were angered by DBKL’s decision to allocate them a 10' x 10' plot of land for a temporary structure until the end of this year.

Following this, the administrators were told to find an alternative site or face action.

Terming the allocation as an ‘embarrassment’, Manoharan in his letter to DBKL said burial plots in the city were bigger.

“The offer is most surprising and disappointing for a 60-year-old Hindu temple that has some 3,000 devotees,” he added.

The lawyer also complained about the deplorable manner in which some 40 DBKL personnel armed with rotans had allegedly destroyed the deities at the temple some three weeks ago.

“Not only did they destroy the statues, they also dug a hole in the ground and buried them. This action is deplorable and insulting to the Hindu faith,” he added.

.................
10' x 10' solution: Temple admin incensed

Mar 20, 06 1:22pm , Malaysiakini

A 60-year-old Hindu temple slated for demolition in Kuala Lumpur has won a temporary reprieve. But its administrators are far from happy.

The reason? The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has stipulated a mere 10' x 10' land allocation near the to-be-demolished Sri Ayyanar Sathiswary Alayan temple for a temporary replacement structure to be built.

In a letter to the mayor dated March 16, their lawyer M Manoharan termed the allocation as ‘embarrassing’.

Even burial plots in the city are bigger than the allocated land, he said in the two-page letter, a copy of which was faxed to malaysiakini today.

“The offer is most surprising and disappointing for a 60-year-old Hindu temple that has some 3,000 devotees,” he added.

Manoharan was responding to a letter from DBKL dated March 14, informing the administrators of the allocation.

The DBKL letter, a copy of which was also faxed to malaysiakini, was signed by enforcement deputy director Mohd Sauffi Muhammad.

Saufi said the Sri Ayyanar Sathiswary Alayan temple in Jalan Davis had to move due to the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel Project (Smart) being earmarked for that area.

DBKL has agreed to allow the temporary siting of the temple at a new location near the Jalan Seladang-Jalan Pelanduk intersection, he added.

He said the temporary structure should be no more than 10' x 10' in measurement - the size of a small room - and no cement structures are allowed.

The reprieve will be valid until Dec 2006, after which the temple administrators must look for an alternative location by themselves. Failing which, Sauffi warned, action can be taken at any time.

He said the decision was made following a visit to the temple by DBKL officials with one VM Panjamorthy on March 6.

Statues 'destroyed and buried'

However, Manoharan in his letter said his clients had never elected Panjamorthy as their representative and are puzzled as to why DBKL is still dealing with him regarding this matter.

The lawyer also highlighted his client’s grievance over the deplorable manner in which some 40 DBKL personnel armed with rotans had destroyed the deities at the temple some three weeks ago.

“Not only did they destroy the statues, they also dug a hole in the ground and buried them. This action is deplorable and insulting to the Hindu faith,” he added.

Manoharan said his client and other devotees have field several police reports on the incident.

The temple administrators are demanding for a new plot of land to erect the temple and wanted DBKL to pay a compensation of RM150,000 for the loss incurred in the demolition exercise, which also purportedly saw jewelry belonging to the temple going missing.

Manoharan gave DBKL 14 days to reply, failing which, the lawyer said his clients will consider taking legal action.

Copies of the letter were also sent to the attorney-general, who was urged to take action against those involved in insulting the Hindu faith by destroying the statues, the inspector-general of police as well as MIC president and Works Minister S Samy Vellu.

Commenting on the incident, another lawyer P Uthayakumar said desecrating a place of worship is a criminal offence and action must be taken.

“The recent caricature controversy which was deemed insulting a religion saw the government take serious action but now a temple has been broken into and there is pin-drop silence,” he added.


 
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