The chairman of the Save Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple task force, S. Ramaji, has come forward and said that the men who attacked the 147-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ25, Putra Heights before dawn on Monday, November 26, were in a state that was ‘trance-like.’
The Malay Mail reported that Ramaji also described the attackers as being of Malay ethnicity and looked as though they were about to hurt people.
Ramaji, along with at least six other individuals, was held at knifepoint by about 250 attackers at around two o’clock that morning. The fight, which was reportedly caused by a misunderstanding concerning the schedule of the relocation of the temple, occurred between devotees of the Sri Maha Mariamman and another group and went viral on social media.
“Wielding knives, axes, rakes, parangs, and wooden sticks, they barged into the temple compound before ordering all within to vacate the premises immediately. They shouted that they were here to take over the land on behalf of One City (the developer),” Ramaji said.
There were several people praying in the temple when the mob descended on them, and the security guard at the temple was seriously injured in the attack.
“They proceeded to ransack the entire place by smashing glasses, furniture and destroying the metal shutters where our deities are sheltered,” Ramaji continued.
He said that the police arrived around two hours after the mob came, at around four o’clock in the morning. The people inside the temple had also asked others to come to their aid.
“When the attack took place, we immediately notified the police, but they only arrived around 4 am, almost two hours after first contact. Our devotees clashed with the mob and successfully chased them into the jungles behind the temple.”
According to Ramaji, the identifying documents such as drivers’ licenses and ID cards left behind after the scuffle have been given to the police. But Ramaji denied claims from the police that the fight centered around a couple of ethnic Indian groups and a real estate developer.
He said, “The ICs we obtained at the scene were mostly Malaysians (in blue) and there were some involving foreigners. We also call the statement issued by the developers as a bluff as they are well aware of what was going on.”
The temple was supposed to be relocated on Thursday last week, November 22. The parties involved in this were the Selangor state government; One City Sdn Bhd, a real estate developer; and K. Chellappa and M. Nagaraju, the two claimants to the temple management.
Ramaji said that Chellappa, the temple committee chairman, had agreed privately with the developers to sell the land where the temple currently is, without disclosing this to the others.
He also said a police report has been lodged and that extra protection from the police has been asked for till November 29, Thursday, when an injunction will be applied at the Shah Alam High Court for the purpose of withholding an earlier consented judgment.