Observe festival with SOP in mind, Selangor Ruler advises Hindus

PETALING JAYA: Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has advised that Thaipusam be observed at home on a modest scale with utmost adherence to the SOP.

Wishing all Hindus in Selangor and the country a happy and safe Thaipusam, the Selangor Ruler said the festival had traditionally been a public holiday in the state.

“However, I would like to advise that this year’s Thaipusam be observed at home on a moderate scale with the SOP kept in mind, ” he said in a special message posted by Istana Alam Shah on the Selangor Royal Office Facebook page yesterday.

Sultan Sharafuddin said the Covid-19 statistics in Selangor over the past two months showed a significant increase, with more fatalities reported.

As such, the Ruler said it was all the more important to adhere to the strict SOP put in place.

Meanwhile, the Thaipusam chariot procession proceeded smoothly yesterday with adherence to strict protocols and limited participants.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the morning procession was a success with support from the police.

He said the statue of Lord Muruga and the poles and other equipment to support it were very heavy and required at least 16 people to place them on the chariot.

“We were worried about carrying the deities as we needed a lot of manpower, but due to the SOP, only 10 were allowed to participate.

“We were wondering how we would manage it, but thankfully, police personnel helped us, ” he said.Thaipusam commemorates the occasion when Lord Muruga’s mother Parvati gave him a “vel” (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman and his brothers.

Nadarajah said it was comforting to see policemen in uniforms helping out during the chariot event, saying “it felt like Lord Muruga was carried by warriors”.

He thanked the devotees for observing the SOP and not participating when the chariot started its journey at 3am yesterday from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam in Jalan Tun HS Lee in Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves.

“It was a very peaceful and smooth journey. The devotees followed the SOP so we are very thankful that they respected and followed the advice of the authorities.

“This year, everyone can pray peacefully from the comfort of their homes by watching the prayers and religious ceremonies conducted at Batu Caves via live telecast and pay tribute to Lord Muruga from their homes, ” he said.

The chariot arrived at Batu Caves at about 5am and will return to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam at 3am tomorrow. The same strict SOP will be observed for the return trip.

Nadarajah thanked Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Human Resources Minister and MIC deputy president Datuk Seri M. Saravanan and the National Security Council for allowing the chariot procession.

Last week, the NSC in a special meeting decided that the Thaipusam celebration this year would not be allowed to be held at any temple.

Following this, the Sri Maha Mariamman temple management sought a special application to bring the chariot to the Sri Subramaniam temple in Batu Caves and back.

The NSC approved the application and stipulated that the Covid-19 SOP must be adhered to by everyone involved.

The SOP stipulates that devotees are not allowed to participate in the journey and there will be no stop at any location on the way to Batu Caves as well as during the return journey.

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