The issue is a long time coming over the conundrum of the relocation of Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ 25, Subang Jaya, Selangor.
According to FMT and Malaysiakini, the Hindu temple located in Seafield has been there for over 146 years. Plans to relocate the temple have been around since 2007 after One City Development Sdn Bhd bought the land. It’s worth to note that One City operates a mall and a hotel not far away from the vicinity.
A consent judgment was brought to court in 2014 involving the developer One City, the Selangor state government and two claimants to the temple management, K Chellappa and M Nagaraju. Both of the latter were also involved in another lawsuit whereby the two were fighting over the control of the temple management.
It’s reported that the temple management had agreed to the win-win judgment and that the piece of land would be returned to One City after it agreed to donate RM1.5 million to build a new temple on another piece of land given by the developer at USJ 23.
Chellappa was named as the rightful temple manager, but Nagaraju had refused to abide by the 2014 High Court consent judgment to relocate.
Fast forward to last Wednesday (Nov 21), 50 people took to the street to protest at the gates of the Parliament and demanded Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to respond to the issue.
The temple was slated to be relocated the day after the protest but the holy sanctuary was guarded by devotees for the past few days, 24 hours in and out.
The long-standing dispute finally clashed outside of court early this morning at 2.30am and it saw 18 vehicles torched and blew up in flames.
According to The Sun Daily, over 100 armed thugs barged into the temple and injured at least a dozen of devotees. The news of the attack spread like wildfire, much like the burned vehicles, it later saw a total of 150 people gathered at the sanctuary for a massive scuffle.
The supporters were raging with anger once they saw the priest and other devotees allegedly held hostage at knifepoint inside the temple. Edge Prop reported that the assailants were armed with iron rods and parang. The gates of the temple were locked but a few hotheaded supporters climbed over the gates to rescue the hostages.
The gates were eventually broken open and the supporters charged towards the thugs. The brawl lasted about an hour, leaving some bloodied due to slash wounds from the machetes.
The Star and NST reported that 700 police personnel, including those from the Federal Reserve Unit, were deployed to the scene. By 3.30am, the law enforcers were able to bring the situation under control. Subang Jaya police chief ACP Azlin Sadari was present at the scene.
In the aftermath, it’s learned that 18 cars and two motorcycles were burned and seven people had been detained. Two men in their 30s were injured and were sent to Serdang Hospital for treatment but it’s also reported that over 12 people were severely injured. They were found lying on the ground, covered in their own blood, which were guarded by the police later.
However, a joint statement by the ministers had stated some discrepancy in the reports. M Kulasegaran (Human Resources minister), Xavier Jayakumar (Water, Land and Natural Resources minister), Gobind Singh Deo (Communications and Multimedia Minister), P Waythamoorthy (Minister in Prime Minister’s Department) and Sivarasa Rasiah (Deputy Rural Development minister), said:
“Questions are being raised as to why only a single patrol car from the Subang Jaya police force arrived at the scene about 4.15am while the FRU only arrived at about 6am.”
The ministers claimed that the statement “the misunderstanding between two groups of Indians that caused the fight in Kuil Sri Mahamariaman was of temple relocation” given by the Subang police was “false and irresponsible” and that it created much tension amongst the Indian community.
They said the district police should be investigated over the way of the situation was handled, adding that the issue should be left for Bukit Aman to manage henceforth.