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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hindu temple event not anti-Zakir rally, DCM tells cops



Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has denied that an event planned at a Hindu temple involves a rally against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
The Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairperson said the event is not a rally but a prayer session for Hindus who have been hurt and humiliated by the likes of Zakir and Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
"Following the prayer session, a few participants intend to lodge police reports against those who have humiliated and demeaned Hinduism in the past few years including Zakir and Asri," Ramasamy said.
It was out of a good intention or naivety that the organisers sought police permission about less than ten days ago, he added.
"In fact, there was no need in the first place for the police to give permission," Ramasamy said, adding that the police are not in the business of telling what Hindus should or should not do.
"If the Malaysian police can allow Zakir and Asri to say all kinds of things against Hindus without taking any action then what right do they have to say when Hindus try to organise a gathering for prayers?" Ramasamy asked.
Police cancels temple event
Yesterday, Bernama reported that the North Sebarang Perai district police have cancelled a Hindraf rally against Zakir that was supposed to be organised at a Hindu temple in Butterworth this Sunday.
According to the North Sebarang district police chief ACP Azmi Adam, the rally is illegal as it violated the Peaceful Assembly Act of 2012.
He added that the police rejected the application by the organisers because it had the potential to "create unnecessary racial and religious tensions in the country".
His remark followed a police report lodged by three Malay Muslim NGOs represented by Penang Dakwah Islamiah Welfare organisation (Pekida).
The police also said that while Hindus are allowed to pray, a rally would not be allowed and they would take action against the participants. Three banners about the rally hung in three districts on the mainland have been taken down.
Hindus are upset that Zakir (photo) holds a permanent resident (PR) status in Malaysia, since five years ago.
He is wanted by Indian authorities for money laundering, with a special trial court in Mumbai under India's Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 having issued a non-bailable warrant of arrest against him.
On the other hand, Asri irked Hindu activists when he challenged those opposing Zakir to prove his faults.
Hindraf activists not involved
Ramasamy said the police have missed out valuable information in their overall calculation to ban the so-called rally.
"Is it an offence to call for prayers and then to lodge police reports against those responsible for the sorry state of inter-religious tensions in the country?" he queried.
"Surely the police are in the know about the existing tensions created by the activities of one or two persons in the country."
Ramasamy also denied that the prayers session this Sunday involved Hindraf activists.
The event is merely organised by local Hindus to reaffirm their faith in Hinduism, he added.
"Now, what is terribly wrong with this? Now if their faith is under serious threat and the responsible authorities are not acting on the best interests of the well-being of the nation, aren't Hindus allowed to gather in their places of worship?"
Ramasamy questioned why should police invoke the Peaceful Assembly Act if the proposed event is about organising prayers at a Hindu temple.
He asked how come the police in the past have refused to invoke this law to "curb the incendiary religious activities" of Zakir and others.

"Can't the Hindus have a mass gathering at a Hindu temple for the purpose of prayers and religious solidarity. Why are the police jumping the gun?
"When did the Malaysian police assume the responsibility of the guardians of the temple? Who are they to say when Hindus can pray and not pray in temples?" asked the Prai assemblyperson.
Ramasamy said he has been informed by the organisers that the Sunday event for prayers and solidarity would proceed in a peaceful manner and that there is no need for the police or any other agencies to over-react to the situation.- Mkini

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