The Human Rights Party (HRP) and Indian residents of Kampong Baru Air Panas, Setapak today threatened to hold a mass protest if DBKL continues with plans to demolish two shrines at the low-cost flats.
HRP pro tem central executive committee member S Thiagarajan (centre in picture) said the demolishment order is unjust as the roughly 1,000 Hindu families living in the area were not given a proper place to set up a temple.
In a memorandum handed over to DBKL, the protestors said the government had built a mosque and a Chinese temple in or near the low-cost flats area but appeared to have neglected to provide the same for the spiritual needs of the Indians.
With no place to set up their temple, HRP and the residents argued that they had no choice but to build their shrines between blocks G and H of the low-cost flats.
Despite this, eight DBKL enforcement officers came to demolish their temple last Monday, following up on two demolishment notices dated May 2, 2011 and Dec 2, 2009.
HRP and the residents argued that the order to tear down the shrines violates Article 11 of the federal constitution, which allows citizens the right to profess and practice their religion of choice.
They added that the Hindus in the area have not been given equal treatment as demanded for under Article 8 of the same constitution, where land was set aside for a mosque and Chinese temple but nothing was set aside for the Hindus living in Air Panas.
The protestors demanded that both demolishment orders be revoked, and that at least one acre of land be allocated as a Hindu temple reserve for the existing Hindu shrines so it can be expanded to include a wedding hall and space for funeral services.
The memorandum was received by Asnan Zain, a special officer to DBKL mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail, at their office today. Thiagarajan claimed that Asnan gave his “personal assurance” that no action will be taken until DBKL completes a review of the memorandum.
Thiagarajan, who accompanied some 30 Air Panas residents at the minor protest, later said that he will follow up on the issue two weeks from now, adding that DBKL have one month to come up with a decision.
“The message we want to give is don’t bully Indians. Just because we are dark, just because we are powerless, does not mean you can bully Indians. If DBKL does not consider our demands, we will hold a big demonstration in front of their office,” he said.
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