Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mkini - Report on Kugan Funeral convoy with more than 1000 mourners attended

Funeral: 1000 in 20km convoy, 6 arrested
Malaysiakini Team Jan 28, 09 1:26pm

The scorching afternoon heat and subsequent heavy downpour failed to deter some 500 people from joining a funeral procession behind a golden Mercedes Benz, ferrying the remains of Kugan Ananthan who died in police custody last week.

At about 2pm, the procession left the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Petaling Jaya en route to a Hindu cemetery in Puchong, some 20km away.
The crowd walked with the hearse for a short distance before getting into their vehicles and driving in a convoy.

In South Indian tradition, the coffin was carried in a car decorated with banana leaves as the cortege made its way to the police station where Kugan died, and then on to the cemetery for funeral rites and burial.
A second post-mortem was conducted at UMMC on Sunday after the family rejected the findings of the first procedure which stated that Kugan died of fluid accumulation in his lungs.Accompanied by scores of media representatives, including foreign journalists, the procession arrived at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya - via the LDP highway - some 80 minutes later.

It was here that the 22-year-old youth, whose body was riddled with severe lacerations, had collapsed and died. The crowd, which was joined by another large group, spent about two minutes reciting a prayer and shouting slogans condemning the police for the alleged use of excessive force, before moving on.Some 20 Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel kept a close watch while a police helicopter circled above. However, no untoward incidents were reported at the Taipan police station.
During the funeral procession, another nine FRU vehicles were spotted parked at Dewan Sebarangan Puchong in Batu 14.

The procession reached the cemetery at Kampung Batu 14 in Puchong more than two hours later, bringing traffic to a standstill in several areas along the way while passing motorists honked as a show of support.By then, the crowd had swelled to more than 1,000.
Kugan's remains were eventually buried at about 5.30pm after some rites and prayers.
Six arrested
Earlier this morning, the police had closed all roads leading to UMMC ahead of the funeral procession.

Six people were also arrested, three for wearing a T-shirt of the banned movement Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) and the other two for trying to breach a police barricade to enter the mortuary.Among those arrested was Hindraf coordinator RS Thanenthiran.Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan later said that the sixth person arrested was a murder suspect.Kugan, who was detained on Jan 15 on suspicion of being involved in the theft of luxury cars died while being questioned five days later.
Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar yesterday issued a stern warning against turning Kugan's funeral into a political rally.According to Kapar MP S Manikavasagam, the Selangor government had paid for the funeral expenses.The other notable politicians present at the funeral included Penang Deputy Chief Minister (2) P Ramasamy, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Subang MP R Sivarasa, Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Sri Andalas state assemblyperson Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
Following a massive public outcry, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail last Friday reclassified the case as murder and investigations have been completed.
The guilty must be prosecuted
"The funeral today must be the last such case of abuse by police," said Sivarasa.

"The people want justice and the government must ensure that Kugan's death is fully investigated and that those found guilty are really prosecuted and not allowed to get away," he told AFP.
One of those detained, Hindraf coordinator Thanenthiran, told AFP from the police station where he was being held that the arrests were unjustified.

"All we did was come to attend the funeral and pay respects to someone who was abused by police. This clearly shows that the Malaysian government has no respect for its people, especially the Indians," he said by phone.

Peter Selvanayagam, a 38-year-old engineer who attended the funeral along with his wife and three children, was one of those who linked Kugan's death with discrimination against the minority community.
"My family and I are here to show that we will not accept the injustice towards the Indian community. We want the guilty to be prosecuted and not to escape justice," he said.

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