Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ex-Hindraf leaders declare Bukit Gasing temple 'open'

(Malaysiakini) The Sivan Temple atop Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya is now open to the public. So declared two former leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) who had once been detained under the Internal Security Act.
The duo - DAP's Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan and Human Rights Party secretary-general P Uthayakumar - called on all Hindu devotees and everyone to come back to the temple.
"It is safe... the landslide more than two years was not caused by the temple," Uthayakumar said at the temple compound yesterday.

NONEIn April 2008, the Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya city halls ordered the closure of the Sivan Temple after extension work on the temple was deemed to have caused a landslide on the Petaling Jaya side.

Uthayakumar claimed that it was not a landslide but erosion of the topsoil. 

There were more dangerous construction projects and high-rise buildings in much steeper areas of Bukit Gasing that could easily trigger landslides, he said, claiming that the 'unsafe' excuse was used to permanently close down the temple.
'Constitutional right to religion'
"No mosque, surau, church or Chinese or Buddhist temple was ever closed down in Malaysia. Why does this happen only to Hindu temples?" he asked, describing the action on the temple as contravention of freedom of religion as guaranteed under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

NONEUthayakumar (right) also called on the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government to alienate the land the temple was sited on to the temple trustees within 30 days and to gazette it accordingly, instead of resorting to temporary solutions provided all along by the former BN state government.

Manoharan said the Sivan Temple has been very close to his heart since his student days in University Malaya more than 20 years ago.

A pioneer volunteer at the temple, M Maharathan, said no one should be deprived of their rights in religion.

"I do not care about politicians or about politics. I just do not want to be deprived of my religious practice. No one has the right to shut down temples... I have been coming here for many years," he said.

Some 30 people gathered at the temple about noon yesterday to show their support for its re-opening.