Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Setapak temple in fear of demolition

Setapak temple in fear of demolition
Mikini- K Kabilan Jun 25, 08 5:42pm

Residents in Air Panas, Setapak in Kuala Lumpur are worried that their 40-year-old Hindu temple would be demolished by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to make way for development project.

The deadline given by the DBKL for the temple to relocate expired today and despite their appeals to be allowed to remain there, the residents now fear that they are going to lose the temple.This morning about 50 residents, with several well-wishers, had gathered at the temple to ward off any attempts by the DBKL to demolish the Kuil Sri Manival Periaana Periasamy Alayam.

However in place of DBKL workers and bulldozers, they were visited by Deputy Federal Territories Minister M Saravanan who gave them his assurance that the temple would not be demolished."But what I want to know is can we trust him," asked temple owner S Muthuraman .

He added that he was shocked to receive a letter from DBKL on June 18, asking him to relocate the temple by today.He said that the letter merely said that the temple was obstructing a neighbourhood development project earmarked for the area and thus should be relocated."They said that this temple was an illegal structure and should be torn down. They did not offer an alternate place or any other options to me," he told Malaysiakini.

Want written assurance

Lawyer Vinod Kumar Sharma, who is representing the residents and devotees, said that while they were happy with Saravanan's assurance, they nevertheless would want some written guarantee."We want it in black and white that the temple will not be demolished. It can come from the DBKL or the government or anyone else in authority," he said.He added that the wanted a written guarantee so that "the person who eventually replaces Saravanan need not have the burden of carrying present deputy minister's assurances".He also pointed out that the decision by the DBKL to tear down temples ran contrary to promises given by the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before the March 8 general election."He had said that no more Hindu temples will be demolished in this country. But now, in the past two weeks alone, about two to three temples have been torn down in Kuala Lumpur alone," he said.Ad-hoc committee

Meanwhile Ramachandran Ramaji, representing Hindu Rights Action Force, questioned as to what had happened to a special committee set up by DBKL on Hindu temples."This committee consisted of DBKL officers, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam and several temple committees and was tasked to look into temples in KL," he said."DBKL would approach this committee when it wants to tear down a temple and the committee is tasked in making the process smooth."However since the general election, the committee has not met. I am wondering if it is still in existence," added Ramachandran.He said that he was forming an ad-hoc committee for all KL temples and temples facing demolition threats should be in touch with him.

Also view the full video clip on the interview at

Source of report -