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Sunday September 1, 2013 MYT 11:59:00 AM
Sunday September 1, 2013 MYT 6:52:01 PM
by t. avineshwaran
PETALING JAYA: Part of the 101-year-old Sri Muneswarar Kaliamman Hindu temple at Jalan P. Ramlee is being demolished by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on Sunday after the temple authorities and DBKL reached an impasse in their year-long negotiations to remove the temple from DBKL’s reserve land.
MIC Youth chief T. Mohan, PKR's S. Jayathas and six others, who tried to stop the demolition were detained and taken to the Dang Wangi police station for obstructing DBKL officers from carrying out their duties, said Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad.
He said they would be released after questioning.
The OCPD said only the wall of the temple at the back adjacent to a new office highrise was being demolished to make way for an 8-feet walkway.
PKR's vice-president Surendran, who rushed to scene, said he heard about the demolition at 8am and went there to try to talk the authorities out of it.
However, he failed and DBKL went ahead at about 9.50am.
“Lawyers and temple members were also assaulted by DBKL officials. This is an illegal demolition as there was no court order,” he claimed.
The officials took a break from the demolition at 10.30am and are continuing.
One of the officers also said they were demolishing the wall to make way for a walkway.
The main statue of the Kaliamman deity was untouched as was the centre of the temple. However, the back wall and a side wall were being cordoned off.
The temple was built in 1911 is now deemed to be on DBKL’s reserve land for road expansion, pedestrian paths or drainage.
Hap Seng Land is putting up a 30-storey office building in an adjacent plot and can only get a Certificate of Fitness if it builds a walkway in line with DBKL requirements.
However, the temple is on the land that would be needed for the walkway and the developer offered some land in Sepang for the temple to be relocated to but the temple authorities rejected that offer as the place of worship had historical significance.
When the two could not come to an amicable settlement, Hap Seng sued City Hall which, in turn, sent an eviction notice to the temple.
Meanwhile MIC President G Palanivel said the demolition works at the site of the historic Golden Triangle Muneswarar Kuil at Jalan P Ramlee is okay as long as the temple is not touched.
When asked by reporters about the incident today after being re-elected as the president of MIC unopposed, Palanivel said he had written to Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor urging him to stop him demolishing the temple.
“In the last cabinet meeting I wrote a letter to Tengku Adnan. They wanted to pull out the existing temple in the city area, so I presented a paper and he agreed to keep it.
“So they wanted to demolish all the other shops and all that, but that is okay.
“Not the temple, they are keeping the temple as it is. I am the one who wrote the letter to Tengku Adnan, they didn’t disturb it (the temple),” he said.
Earlier today four people, including PKR activist S Jayathas and MIC Federal Territories Youth chief D Tharmakumaran were arrested for trying to stop what they believed was the demolition of the temple.
When asked about the arrests Palanivel said that he hadn't heard about it yet as he had obviously been very busy this morning with the elections, and said he would look into it.
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