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Kugan: Huge crowd as Kugan funeral begins

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 @ 00:57:27 CST

Social, Jan 28 09
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — A huge crowd is now following A. Kugan's funeral procession from Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) under the watchful eyes of the police to the USJ 8 police station for prayers before the final rites at the Puchong Batu 14 crematorium this evening. Police are providing an escort for the procession.

They had earlier arrested five men wearing Hindraf T-shirts as they threw a tight cordon around the medical centre for the suspected car thief's funeral. They only allowed some 50 people, including family and several lawmakers, to claim Kugan's body. Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said family and friends paid respects at the mortuary five at a time. Police had earlier chased away reporters and nearly 100 supporters around the mortuary waiting to pay respects. The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and Light Strike Force had cordoned off the teaching hospital this morning but crowds, responding to text messages, have turned up for the funeral procession. Several tried to go through the barricade but police ordered them to disperse. Police arrested two men when the crowd were dispersing just after noon. The government had banned the Hindraf movement last year, making all its symbols illegal, after it organised a massive protest in November 2007. Five Hindraf leaders are under ISA detention. Another two were arrested later for inciting the crowd, police said. They also wore Hindraf T-shirts. "I don't see why anyone has been arrested. We are not here to make trouble," Gobind, who is also Puchong MP, told reporters. "They are just here to pay last respects," said Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam, who said he will lodge a police report against Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar for making conflicting statements over Kugan's death. Kugan, a 22-year-old insurance claims executive, was arrested on Jan 14 for allegedly being involved in a luxury car-theft ring. He died on Jan 20 after drinking some water, police claimed. An initial autopsy said he died of "fluid in the lungs". But the Attorney-General's Chambers have classified the case as murder after an outcry by the family and lawmakers, and a second autopsy over the weekend found external injuries and phlegm in his lungs. The family and authorities are waiting for detailed toxicological and tissue tests in the final autopsy report. Critics have said Kugan's death is the latest in custody deaths in Malaysia, mostly among Indians detained by the police. But Hindraf legal advisor S. Tanendran disagreed, saying it is a Malaysian issue, not a racial issue. "Deaths in detention happens to all races," he said.

Kugan funeral procession: Five arrested
The Star
PETALING JAYA: The funeral procession of A. Kugan, whose death in police custody has galvanised civil society, began at 11:45pm Wednesday as the body left the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) mortuary here. It would proceed to Subang Jaya and then on to Puchong where the suspected car thief will finally be laid to rest, leaving in his wake disturbing questions about police abuse. Five men have also been arrested. First, police detained two men who tried to get through a barricade at the UMMC despite orders to disperse. Two more were detained at about 1:40pm by plainclothes policemen for allegedly trying to incite the crowd. The four were wearing t-shirts depicting the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force movement, or Hindraf. The fifth is believed to be former Hindraf coordinator R.S. Thanendran. The first arrests, made at the UMCC entrance about 12.15pm, came after Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid had made an announcement asking the crowd disperse. He gave the crowd up till a count to 10 to disperse, failing which he said arrests would be made. He then ordered his men to arrests the two. They have been taken to the Brickfields police headquarters for questioning, ACP Wan Abdul Bari said. At about 1:25pm, FRU officers came to the front of the mortuary and forced press photographers away from the scene. Earlier at 12:45pm, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam, Teluk Intan MP M. Manogaran, Penang Deputy Chief Minister (II) Dr P. Ramasamy and the family’s lawyer N. Surendran arrived but were denied entry into the mortuary by a UMMC security officer. A heat exchange ensued before they were allowed in, together with Kugan’s parents and two other relatives. Relatives and friends were then allowed entry into the mortuary where Kugan’s body is being kept, but only in batches of five. At a hastily-convened press conference at the scene, Manikavasagam denied online rumours that the funeral procession was going to proceed to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre to hold a demonstration. Instead, he clarified, the procession would first proceed to Subang Jaya where a five-minute prayer would be held at the Taipan police station in which Kugan was killed, before proceeding to Puchong for the funeral rites. Meanwhile, Gobind said they were not there to cause trouble and blamed the police for blowing things out of proportion. “We’re just here to show our support,” he said. “We’re just here to claim the body and allow Kugan’s funeral to proceed.” Gobind also said that the second post-mortem report has been completed but the doctor who conducted it had yet to reveal anything. Later, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok arrived as well. Members of the Field Reserve Unit (FRU) and the Light Strike Force were deployed early Wednesday to Jalan Universiti to prepare for the funeral procession. The suspected car thief had died while being questioned by police on Jan 20. The units have been placed there in anticipation of a large crowd for the procession that will begin at UMMC and proceed to Puchong, Petaling Jaya police chief Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed said earlier. Members of the public should not join in any illegal gathering and police will take stern action, he added. Kugan’s family had arrived at the scene a little after 12 noon. His uncle, Ravi Roy, 42, had earlier told the media said that the family was not blaming the police force for Kugan’s death, but was merely seeking the truth. “We are not blaming the entire police force, all we want is for the people who are responsible to be brought to justice,” he said at the Bandar Kinrara home here of Kugan’s parents on Monday. Kugan’s body is currently at the UMMC mortuary, where a second post-mortem was conducted last Sunday. The 22-year-old collapsed and died inside the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya on Tuesday last week. The initial post-mortem revealed that he had died due to fluid in his lungs, but Kugan’s family entered the Serdang Hospital mortuary that same day and took photographs of his body, which showed severe bruising. They demanded a second post-mortem, although that report is not out yet. While initially saying no foul play was involved, police have now reclassified the case as murder for the purpose of investigation, at the urging of the Attorney-General. Earlier, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said police would not allow any carrying of banners or posters during Kugan’s funeral. He said the funeral should not be politicised or turned into a racial event. He warned groups who were not involved to stay out of the funeral procession. “The body should be brought straight from the mortuary to the crematorium in Puchong,” he said. Ismail said that if Kugan’s body was taken elsewhere, it would be considered an illegal gathering and the police would take action. He said that the police would be on stand-by to ensure that the funeral proceeded smoothly.*********

Leaders: Keep race out of it By : V. Shuman and Azura Abas

Many people are emotional and it would not take much before the finger-pointing starts and the whole thing turns into a racial issue.- Senator T. Murugiah
KUALA LUMPUR: Three political leaders have appealed to the public not to turn the A. Kugan incident into a racial issue. The appeal was made by deputy ministers, Senator T. Murugiah and Datuk S.K. Devamany, as well as opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Murugiah advised the public not to aggravate the situation as investigations were under way to nab the culprits responsible for the 22-year-old's death.

"Many people are emotional and it would not take much before the finger-pointing starts and the whole thing turns into a racial issue.

"Everyone concerned, including the family of the deceased, should remain patient until the investigations are completed," Murugiah told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Murugiah added that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had expressed concern over the case and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had assured him that the culprits would be charged.

He also urged the public to allow Kugan's funeral procession today to proceed peacefully, without the carrying of banners or placards and without disrupting public order.

Devamany said Kugan's death had nothing to do with racial sentiment and that it was an issue of the rule of law.

"No one should do anything to disrupt police investigations.

"Also, as a sign of respect for the deceased and his family, we must ensure the funeral procession goes on smoothly."

Kugan's body will be buried at the Puchong Batu 14 cemetery.

Anwar said on Sunday that the party would face head on any attempt to turn Kugan's death and the incident at the mortuary, where a mob allegedly barged in and took photographs of the body, into a racial issue.

"There are attempts to divert the people's attention from the youth's death to what had happened at the mortuary," he said.

On Tuesday night, a group of about 50 people were said to have barged into the Serdang Hospital mortuary to inspect and take photos of Kugan's body.

Devamany, Murugiah and seven others who were present, had their statements recorded by the police.

It was, however, learnt later that mortuary personnel told police they had opened the doors to the group.

Anwar said the mortuary incident was a small matter compared with the alleged deaths of 80 detainees in police lock-ups since 2000.

He also urged the government to set up a royal commission to investigate the youth's death.

Kugan was arrested on Jan 14 after a car chase over his alleged involvement in a car theft syndicate.

He collapsed and died while being interrogated at the Subang Jaya Taipan police station on Jan 20.

The case, which was initially classified as voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession, was re-classified as murder on Friday, following which 11 police personnel from the Taipan police station, were re-assigned to desk duties at the Selangor district police headquarters.

Kugan's family are currently awaiting results of a second post-mortem conducted at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre on Sunday.

The family was not satisfied with the results of the first post-mortem, which indicated that he had died of fluid ac*****ulation in his lungs.



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