SHAH ALAM: A witness said a fracas ensued after the Fire and Rescue Department fire truck backed away from the site of the riots at the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple on the morning of Nov 27 last year.
Nasaruddin Abdullah told the Coroner's court on Wednesday (Feb 27) that after the fire truck drove away, he saw a group of about 30 men gathered in a circle nearby.
"Berani korang masuk dalam kuil India (How dare you guys come into an Indian temple!)", he heard someone shouting from amongst the group, followed by shouts of vulgar words in Malay and Tamil.
Nasaruddin, the 17th witness called for the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, said the group also appeared to be kicking and punching a person or an object that was in the middle of the circle.
Under questioning by DPP Hamdan Hamzah, who is leading the three-member team from the Attorney General's Chambers, Nasaruddin said he noticed the fracas right after the fire truck reversed away.
It was then that he noticed there was an Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van behind the fire truck, he said.
Hamdan: What did you see after that?
Nasaruddin: I saw that the van had turned around. Then I noticed about 30 people. They were circling something, and they were swearing.
"They said in Malay, 'How dare you guys come into an Indian temple'. They followed by saying 'crazy people' then they continued to swear in Tamil.
Hamdan: What else did you notice about the group?
Nasaruddin: It seemed that they were kicking and punching someone, but I couldn't see who or what was in the circle. It was only about five or six people within the group who were kicking and punching.
"Then I heard someone shout in Tamil, 'Police, police' and the 30 people started running away from the site.
Nasaruddin said it was then that he realised his friend Karthik was not at his side, sohe shifted his attention away to look for his friend.
"When I looked again, I saw that several people were carrying someone who was wearing a Fire and Rescue Department trousers," he said.
Nasaruddin said he also saw two men, one on each side of the fire truck, smashing helmets against the windows.
When asked by Housing and Local Government Ministry lawyer Syazlin Mansor on whether he went closer to the group, Nasaruddin said no.
Syazlin: Why didn't you go nearer?
Nasaruddin: I was scared, so I stood where I was.
Judge Rofiah Mohamad is presiding as the coroner in the inquest at the Shah Alam Sessions court.
Now on its 11th day (Feb 27), the inquest will continue later in the afternoon.
Muhammad Adib, 24, was critically injured when he and his team members from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple where riots were happening last November.
He was taken to SJMC before being transferred to the IJN for further treatment.
He died at the IJN on Dec 17, at 9.41pm.