“The confrontational retaliatory action by the MBSA enforcement officers was in our opinion the cause for the violence in the temple,” said Vaithilingam in a faxed statement.
When contacted for clarifications, Vaithilingam said eye-witness reports claim MBSA enforcement officers were initially pelted with stones from a group of unknown individuals.
“But it did not come from the temple. How can they (MBSA personnel) attack devotees like that? No enforcement body in the world attacks people with stones,” he said.
In his written statement, Vaithilingam said those injured at the hands of MBSA enforcement officers included T Ganesa, the Selangor chairperson of MHS.
However, he stressed that the police were restrained compared to MBSA officers. Against procedures
Vaithilingam also slammed Za’ba for allegedly personally telling temple authorities at 9am on Tuesday that the temple was to be demolished in the next two hours.
He said the temple was a large structure with many facilities that cannot be relocated in the short period of time.
“What else can the innocent devotees do when given only two hours? Attempting to destroy deities (in the temple) is very sensitive and is considered an insult to the Hindu community,” he added.
Vaithilingam also criticised Za’ba for reneging an agreement between MBSA, the Selangor state government, MIC officials and temple officials on Oct 28.
The deal apparently gave the temple a grace period until Deepavali celebrations. Deepavali will be celebrated by all Hindus on Nov 8.
Vaithilingam also urged MIC leaders to open dialogue with leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) to resolve the matter.
Five-inch parang wound
In a separate development, Hindraf legal advisor P Uthayakumar revealed that some of the devotees who suffered injuries during the scuffle were not given immediate medical attention.
Citing an example, Uthayakumar said that he witnessed one detainee who had a five-inch cut on the head while he was detained at the Section 11 Shah Alam police station.
He claimed that the wound was inflicted by a MBSA enforcement officer with a parang. He added that the detainee was not given medical attention even after 24-hours of the incident.
“Only after persistent appeals by Hindraf did the police take this victim to the hospital,” said Uthayakumar, in a letter to Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail. The letter was made available to Malaysiakini.
In his letter, Uthayakumar urged Abdul Gani to take immediate action against those responsible for the injuries suffered by devotees during the open fracas.
Uthayakumar and three other lawyers were arrested while accompanying devotees who were lodging a report on the incident in Kampung Karuppiah, which is located within Kampung Rimba Jaya.
Temple demolition motion shot downYoges Palaniappan
Nov 1, 07 4:37pmAdjust font size:
An opposition motion to debate the temple demolition in Kampung Rimba Jaya, Shah Alam yesterday was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker.
Deputy Speaker Lim Si Cheng rejected M Kulasegaran's (DAP-Ipoh Barat) motion on the grounds that it "does not warrant immediate action" as the temple was located at a squatter area and that matter has been referred to the court.
Kulasegaran, in his urgent motion, said that the Indian community in the country is puzzled, shocked and saddened by the demolition of the 100-year old Sri Maha Mariamman temple.
It was reported that several hundred police personnel and local council authorities clashed with the residents who sought to stop the demolition.
According to Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), at least 300 police personnel and council workers had cordoned off the temple yesterday morning.
It said council workers began hurling stones and beating devotees with sticks and batons when they tried to halt the demolition.
Kulasegaran described the demolition as "an extreme act which is unconstitutional, criminal, despicable and unrelenting."
"Temple demolitions have been going on in the country for the past few years and has worsened recently," said Kulasegaran.
"The temple was demolished cruelly by 500 policemen, FRU personnel and local authorities without even respecting or considering the feelings of Hindus," he said, adding that the demolition was exercised without proper notice and procedures.
"250 houses and a surau, for which an alternative land has been given, were also demolished in the exercise."
Kulasegaran explained that the temple devotees were kept from the temple area yesterday by Indian gangsters hired by the contractors who broke temple deities which are scared for Hindus.
"The clean and beautiful temple, which used to be the place of worship for more than 1,500 devotees, was torn down using tractors and other machineries yesterday," he said.
He said that demolition is against the Article 11 of the Federal Constitution which guaranteed freedom of religion in the country.
Also, he added, to destroy a place of worship is a serious crime under the Penal Code.
Kulasegaran urged the government to immediately stop the demolition of temples to preserve the culture and identity of Indians in the country.
Sweeping under the carpet
In a statement issued later, Kulasegeran said that the rejection was unfair, undemocratic and against all decent norms of fair and adequate debate in a democratic society.
"Parliament is the place for elected representatives to bring up issues of public importance but urgent motions for debate are routinely rejected in an off-handed brutal manner that makes a mockery of democratic practice," said Kulasegaran.
"The speaker has shut out an issue of great importance by not allowing a full and frank debate thus preventing the government from making a stand or policy statement of its attitudes to Hindus in the country," he added.
"By denying the motion the government has swept another issue of great public importance under the carpet."