HINDUS aligned to the Persatuan Agamam Ani Malaysia gathered outside the Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple to mount pressure on the management committee to undergo a full financial audit.
They also demanded that the place of worship come under the purview of Registrar of Societies (RoS).
People began streaming in as early as 6am, and women, who made up a sizeable number at the gathering, brought food to share with the crowd.
Devotional Hindu songs blared from speakers across the Batu Caves entrance arch where Persatuan Agamam Ani Malaysia members gathered while some devotees stood at the entrance to the temple.
The Gombak Police Head-quarters deployed about 50 plain-clothed and uniformed officers to monitor the peaceful gathering while St John Ambulance from Jalan Shelly in Kuala Lumpur stationed 10 of its members on site.
Ravi Dorasamy, who was one of the organisers, said the main purpose of the gathering was to call for reform of the Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple management committee and have its financial records audited.
“Our aim is to have a transparent management of the financial records pertaining to the operations of the temple,” he said.
Ravi added that the temple was operated based on a 1930 court order from a civil suit.
“This is no longer relevant in current times and we feel that for proper management, it must be registered with RoS.
“We also want the land to be registered under the temple’s name and not remain as state land,” he said.
Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple Devasthanam chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah, who was at the management office on the temple grounds, said Persatuan Agamam Ani Malaysia was unable to muster up the 50,000 protesters as it claimed in press reports.
“Our temple management is doing a good job in serving the devotees.
“We are strict with the financial accounts and it is gone through by internal and external auditors.
“I will consider placing the full financial records online to be transparent and build trust among the devotees,” he told StarMetro.
Nadarajah added that the temple channelled funds to the underprivileged, orphanages and students who need help to finance their education.
“We offer an annual RM50,000 in educational scholarships and another RM50,000 to print workbooks for UPSR and PT3 students.
“Donations given to the temple are used for worthy causes,” he said, adding that apart from using donations for the temple’s maintenance, they use it to give back to the community.