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Residents, lawyers held after demolition fracas

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 31 @ 02:39:49 CDT

Religion
Bede Hong
Oct 31, 07 Malaysiakini
The Kampung Rimba Jaya in Padang Jawa, near Shah Alam was a chaotic scene last night when residents tried to prevent the Shah Alam City Hall from demolishing their houses.


The residents’ attempt to save their homes turned physical and bloody when scores were hurt in the ensuing melee.

Fifteen residents were also arrested and are now being detained at the Shah Alam Section 11 police station.

In the end, over 200 houses, a 100-year-old temple and a surau have been levelled to the ground by the authorities. Even the presence of MIC president S Samy Vellu could not save the houses and the temple.

And later in the day, four lawyers - human rights lawyers P Uthayakumar and P Waythamoorthy as well as DAP lawyers M Manoharan and S Ganabathi Rao - were also arrested by the police when they attempted to enter Section 11 police station to help the release of the residents.

The police have today obtained a four-day remand order against the residents, said DAP legal bureau chief A Sivanesan.

The lawyers are still being held under custody although no remand order has been obtained against them as yet.

When contacted Sivanesan also said that at least two residents suffered serious injuries.

"A woman, in her fifties and a 16-year-old boy suffered great injury. Their clothes are soaked with their own blood and they are still wearing them," he said.

Tamil dailies today also carried images of another man with head injury.

Lawyers manhandled

The police have also taken Uthayakumar's statement and are in the process of taking statements from the remaining three lawyers.

The lawyers were arrested for creating a scuffle in front of the Section 11 police station after they were refused entry by the police.

"Their purpose there was to assist residents lodge reports against the state government and relevant authorities. They were also to inquire on the status of those arrested and detained," said Hindraf lawyer R Gengadharan when contacted today.

"The conduct of arresting and detaining by the police is unjustified," he said.

Last night, Waythamoorthy lodged a police report against the conduct of the police in arresting him and the other three lawyers.

In the report lodged at the same police station, Waythamoorthy said that he was manhandled and had a machine-gun pointed at him when he inquired as to why the lawyers were being refused entry.

"I was pushed down and stepped on my leg, preventing me from getting up," his report stated.

“I injured my head, my back and elbow...the same constable threatened to shoot me if I didn’t go out and his machine-gun was pointed at me while I was still on the ground,” he said.

He added in his report that he and the other lawyers faced racial abuses from the other police personnel at the station, with one policeman allegedly stating that he would “make sure I’m kept in lock up tonight”.

Baton-charged

Meanwhile, human rights activist S Kumaravel, 44, said a surau was also demolished by council authorities in the eviction exercise yesterday.

The surau is located in Rimba Jaya, about one kilometre away from the temple. The Sri Maha Mariaman temple is located in Rimba Jaya. Residents from nearby Kampung Karuppiah carry out their prayers at the temple.

Kumaravel, who is Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) exco member, said over 200 houses in Rimba Jaya were demolished in the exercise that saw at least 300 police personnel, including the Federal Reserve Unit, participating.

Rimba Jaya is mostly populated by Malays while Kampung Karuppiah is mostly populated by Indians.

The MPSA enforcement officers were beating people with batons, said Kumaravel.

"I saw an enforcement officer pulling out a knife and waving it around threateningly," said Kumaravel.

It took almost three hours to demolish the Sri Maha Mariaman temple. The temple's nursery was the first to be demolished when the exercise began yesterday morning.

After a pause at noon, the demolition continued at 2pm and continued for another three hours amidst resistance from at least 400 residents. Several hundred council enforcement officers were also present.

News reports said stones were thrown between both sides.

Shots fired

In addition to that, today's Sin Chew Jit Poh reported that police fired several shots at a lorry, puncturing at least one tyre. Nanyang Siang Pau reported that five shots were fired. The report said several residents had tried to escape the police in the lorry. They were later arrested.

There were also accounts of a stabbing, but which could not be verified as yet.

"They should have waited until Deepavali is over before they begin demolishing the temple. At least the residents have somewhere to pray," said Kumaravel.

Early this morning, he had lodged a police report at Section 11 police station against the state government for ordering the eviction exercise.

"The police told us that the order was from the Menteri Besar (Mohd Khir Toyo). There was no court order to demolish the surau or the temple," he added.

Tamil dailies also reported that the residents had shown their anger towards Samy Vellu for not doing anything to help them. Samy Vellu is quoted as saying that he would raise the matter with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.


 
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