Tuesday, 27 November 2007

HINDRAF - Champion or Demagogue?

One of the pressing issues that has incensed the Indian community the most and which Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) have been most vocal in voicing out is the demolition of their temples throughout the country. As more and more agricultural land succumb to the bulldozer for housing and commercial purposes, custodians of temples that were built on these primarily private properties have been given notice to relocate. It is often not the relocation that the Indian community is against, but the wanton manner in which temples are demolished and deities broken that fans the fire of discontent. Temples that are a hundred years old or more are not spared the bulldozer either if they stand in the way of 'development'. There is also an instance of a temple that has been forcibly demolished and relocated next to a sewerage plant in Kampung Medan.

According to rajeev2004.blogspot.com, "from 22.2.2006 to 13.6.2007 (about one year and four months) Hindraf have recorded 79 Hindu temples to have been unlawfully, unconstitutionally and with impunity demolished, given notice to be demolished, burnt down, relocated next to sewerage tanks, deities removed etc". In the year 2006 alone, Hindraf claimed that 68 temples were demolished (www.bangkit.net).

It is evident from the thousands of Indians who
had turned up to support the Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday that the Indian community, or at least the poor, have been disillusioned with the MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress, a partner in the coalition government) and had turned to Hindraf to champion their cause. Undoubtedly, MIC would have to have to sit up and urgently take note of how a fledgling organization could galvanize some 30,000 Indians to converge at the city capital to publicize their plight.

The demolition of the 100 year old Sri Maha Mariamman temple
in Shah Alam

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