Tense Seafield Hindu temple standoff defused with relocation postponed to after Deepavali

Seafield Mariamman Temple

PETALING JAYA: The tense standoff at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ Subang Jaya, Selangor, was defused somewhat when the developer agreed to postpone any temple relocation actions until Nov 22 after Deepavali.

Sungai Buloh MP R. Sivarasa said that the management of the temple will be undertaken by Seafield Temple Taskforce leader S. Ramaji.

He added that Selangor Mentri Besar (MB) Amiruddin Shaari will be calling for a meeting with all parties.

This came after a tense six hour standoff between police officers and temple devotees outside the gates of the temple.

Temple devotees shielded the main deity while others stood guard to ensure no relocation would take place.

Facebook videos showed the temple gates were shut and the shutters to the main deity were pulled down. The videos also show hunger strikers lying down by the main temple gate.

Malaysian Indian Education Transformation Association chairman Elangovan Annamalai said the temple committee had planned to move the main deity to the new temple grounds some 2.7km away.

This was followed by a two hour discussion inside a bus brought in by the developer.

Those in the bus discussion included Ramaji, Sivasara, Seafield temple management committee president Chellappa L. Kalimuthu, Sentosa state assemblyman G. Gunaraj, the leader of the protest M. Nagaraju, the developer from One City, Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk Mohan Shan and lawyers.

Sivarasa said the future discussions with the Selangor MB will include the developer, the temple taskforce, Gunaraj, Klang MP Charles Santiago and himself.

Also present was MIC vice president Datuk T. Mohan.

During the meeting, Mohan also called for the resignation of MHS's Mohan Shan should he fail to save the temple.

However Gunaraj later urged the crowd to acknowledge the assistance rendered by MHS.

“This issue cannot be solved without their assistance. We need to give them due acknowledgment,” he said.

Mohan Shan later said he would resign if anything occurred before November 22, the deadline agreed upon by all parties.

The crowd had also forced him to sign an agreement admitting to the same.

Meanwhile, the three devotees on hunger strike have refused to end their fast until the MB comes down to meet them.

The ruckus began early this morning with the police and Federal Reserve Unit setting up camp at approximately 8.30am outside the temple.

Devotees and activists had sent out messages and videos urging people to come and defend the temple.

Some 500 people gathered this morning as the police tried to make their way into the temple using a court order that ruled in favour of the developer and the temple’s relocation.

Gunaraj stepped in to ask for a grace period as the Mentri Besar had expressed his wishes to meet with the affected parties.

The problem has been made more acute as there are two opposing temple committees.

Sri Maha Mariamman Hicom Temple Management Committee had said the relocation of the temple to its new site in USJ 23, 2.7km away from the current temple, was in a consent judgement recorded in the Shah Alam High Court on March 11, 2014.

It was agreed by all parties, including the temple committee, landowner One City Development Sdn Bhd, the Selangor state government and also the temple’s opposing committee led by M. Nagaraju.

However, Nagaraju later said he had been given only one day to sign that consent judgement and had no time to do a land title search.

It was reported earlier by The Star that he claimed that he only later found out that the land did not belong to the said owner.

Nagaraju also claimed, “We thought we could use the land in USJ 23 to build a hall and new temple next to the current site."

Now the opposing committee want the 147-year-old temple to be preserved as a heritage site and they are digging in to resist any relocation.

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