Tuesday November 27, 2007
Batu Caves temples not damaged
Batu Caves Demonstration
KUALA LUMPUR: While there was minor damage to the Batu Caves' property, the temples were not damaged by Hindraf demonstrators who had gathered there early on Sunday morning.
“All the temples are okay. There's no damage,” said Batu Caves supervisor S. Ratnam, 61, when met at his office yesterday.
Ratnam explained that special prayers were supposed to be held on Sunday morning, but a crowd of up to 700 people had turned up outside the gates at about 11pm on Saturday night.
“We close and lock our gates at about 9.30pm every night. After that, no outsiders are allowed in. That is our daily routine,” he added.
Temple secretary M. Devarajoo said the demonstrators had entered the compound, forcing them to call the police for assistance.
“We lodged four reports, including the one on Sunday when the police moved in, and one more yesterday with regards to damage caused.”
Internal Security and Public Order deputy director Senior Asst Comm (I) Datuk Jamaludin Khalid said police only moved in on the demonstrators after receiving a report at about 2am that demonstrators had trespassed into the temple compound.
“We exercised maximum restraint and acted in an appropriate manner. Our objective was to control the situation and retain law and order without causing any untoward incident,” he said.
Admitting that water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse the crowd, SAC Jamaluddin said they were forced to do so as the demonstrators pelted his officers and men with stones and bricks.
He said: “I must stress that police did not fire tear gas or use water canons inside the temple premises to disperse the more than 1,000 gathered there.”