IGP: Temple clash not racial, linked to relocation issue

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun today confirmed the fight at the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam temple in USJ 25 was not a racial riot.

Meanwhile, a police source told the Malay Mail some 140 men from the ‘Selempang Merah’ and ‘Kucing Merah’ groups were believed to have been paid RM300 to guard the temple until the developer and the police had arrived.


SHAH ALAM: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun today confirmed the fight at the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam temple in USJ 25 was not a racial riot.

He said the issue was connected to the ongoing dispute over the temple’s transfer to another location.

This comes after the developer One City Development Sdn Bhd issued a statement earlier this morning, denying they had anything to do with the incident and threatening to take legal action against those who continue to make ‘unsubstantiated statements’ against it.

Fuzi said the police received a tip-off at 2.40am and arrived at the temple by 2.50am, where some 50 men were immediately spotted around the temple.

“The situation at the temple nearly spiralled out of control, leading to the police personnel to call for reinforcements.

“By 5am, 700 Federal Reserve Units and personnel from the Serdang police district headquarters arrived to handle the situation,” he told reporters during the special press conference at the Selangor police contingent headquarters.

17 men were arrested to facilitate investigations into the clashes, with weapons confiscated during the incident including two swords, two wooden rods, and two rubber pipes.

“Six men were also injured, along with a police corporal from the Subang Jaya district headquarters who sustained a broken arm and is now being treated.

“We will continue to monitor the site of the temple 24 hours a day for a certain period of time, as deemed necessary,” Fuzi said.

He dismissed queries about the police arriving later than expected at the temple or not taking action during the clash, adding if that were the case lives would have been lost.

“All individuals including the masterminds have been identified by us and will be called in for questioning later on.

“I urge the public to stop spreading misinformation about the incident which could further aggravate the situation, and lead to public disorder,” Fuzi said.

Meanwhile, a police source told the Malay Mail some 140 men from the ‘Selempang Merah’ and ‘Kucing Merah’ groups were believed to have been paid RM300 to guard the temple until the developer and the police had arrived.

It is understood the developer had planned on moving the temple today from its current location to another site some 3km away in Putra Heights, following the end of its management period on Thursday (November 22) by the task force in charge of finding a solution.

The source said the group arrived at the temple at 2.30am and began chasing away a group of devotees present, which led to provocations and saw the group’s members hurl various objects from inside and around the temple.

At 4.20am the number of devotees had greatly increased as they gathered outside the temple, and proceeded to cut apart its fences to storm the compound. The mob began to assault the group in the temple, some of whom managed to escape through the cut fence.

By 5am, the mob began to set fire to vehicles said to have belonged to the group, which involved 22 cars and five motorcycles. However, the blaze was brought under control by the Fire and Rescue Department who arrived shortly after.

“It appears the group’s actions of entering the temple triggered the anger of its devotees, which led to the clash.

“The increased number of devotees (later on) only served to inflame the passions of those present to defend the temple. By 10.20am the riot police dispersed and Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor decided to postpone the operation,” he said.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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