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7 arrested over temple scuffle

  • Seven people, all in their 30s, have been detained over the predawn scuffle at a USJ Hindu temple. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

SUBANG JAYA, Nov 26 (Bernama) -- The police arrested seven men and have given the assurance of an "aggressive investigation" into and the arrest of those involved in a scuffle at a Hindu temple in USJ25 here early today.

They arrested the seven, all in their 30s, up to noon today following the incident which began at about 2 am at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple.

Selangor Police chief Datuk Mazlan Mansor warned all quarters against taking the law into their own hands and advised the people to remain calm to enable the police to conduct their investigation.

"The investigation is being conducted aggressively and arrests will be made," he said, adding that the police probe was over mischief and rioting.

He said at a media conference at the Subang Jaya District Police headquarters that two of the men were arrested while they sought treatment at the Serdang Hospital for injuries sustained in the incident.

"Eighteen cars and two motorcycles were torched in the incident. A police patrol car was also damaged by stones thrown during the incident," he told the media conference which was also attended by Subang Jaya District Police chief ACP Mohammad Azlin Sadari.

Mazlan said calm had been restored in the vicinity of the temple where about 700 policemen from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and several other units were being stationed.

Bernama found that the presence of the policemen had brought calm to the area.

The road leading to the temple has been closed and traffic policemen helped to facilitate smooth traffic flow in the wake of heavy congestion this morning.

The crowds of people who had gathered in the vicinity of the temple have dispersed. Cones have been placed in the area to prevent vehicles and members of the public from going near the temple.

Mazlan said the police received a call on the incident at about 2.45 am and a patrol unit was then sent to the scene.

However, stones were hurled at the patrol car, forcing the policemen to call for backup.

Mazlan said a preliminary investigation indicated that the rioting was caused by provocative acts between two groups which were in the vicinity of the temple.

"About 50 men were in the compound of the temple and a group of men was outside. They traded insults that led to the riot," he said.

The clash between the two groups in the vicinity of the temple went on for about an hour and several people were injured and several cars and motorcycles torched, he said.

Mazlan said the police were trying to determine the owners of the vehicles.

He said the scuffle was brought under control at about 5 am by the policemen who were deployed to the area while firefighters doused the vehicle fires.

Mazlan said the police were trying to determine the motive of the 50 men who were in the temple compound and who fled following the clash between the two groups.

"We recovered several machetes which we believe were used during the incident," he said.

Mazlan appealed to all quarters to remain calm and give the police time to investigate the incident and not to circulate messages that can cause racial tension in the country.

"Give us time to investigate. All quarters must remain calm and not act on your own. We (the police) will not hesitate to act against anyone at all who breaks the law in our quest to maintain public order.

The police have yet to establish the motive or the cause of the incident. There is talk that the incident was related to the relocation of the temple.

On Sept 28, the Shah Alam High Court issued an eviction notice directing the temple authorities to vacate the site on or before Oct 15.

However, about 300 people opposed to the relocation gathered at the temple on Oct 25 when the relocation was in progress.

They wanted the temple, claimed to have been built in 1891, to be saved on the basis of religious and historical merits.

On Oct 31, V. Ganabatirau, chairman of the Selangor Socio-Economic Empowerment and Development and Caring Government Committee, said four parties, through a consent judgment on March 11, 2014, at the Shah Alam High Court, agreed to the relocation of the temple and return the present temple site vacant to the owner.

The four parties are the state government; owner of the temple site One City Development Sdn Bhd and two individuals claiming to be the temple administrators K. Chellappa and M. Nagaraju, he said.

Chellappa filed an objection to the move by One City to take back the temple site in 1996.

Ganabatirau said that in the consent judgment, One City agreed to deposit RM1.5 million with the temple, and it is learned that the money has been deposited with the temple lawyer.

The state government handed over a 0.4-hectare piece of land, located about three kilometres away, for the relocation of the temple, he said.

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