Eyewitness recounts temple attack, claims mob behaved in ‘trance-like state’

Chairman of the Save Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple taskforce Ramaji recounted his harrowing experience at being held hostage with at least six others at knifepoint by an unruly mob numbering about 250 people during the 2am incident. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Chairman of the Save Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple taskforce Ramaji recounted his harrowing experience at being held hostage with at least six others at knifepoint by an unruly mob numbering about 250 people during the 2am incident. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

SUBANG JAYA, Nov 26 — An eyewitness to today’s pre-dawn attack of the 147-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ25, Putra Heights claimed the provocateurs were in a “trance-like state” and were out to hurt people.

The Save Seafield Sri Maha Marianmman Temple task force chairman, S. Ramaji recounted his harrowing experience at being held hostage with at least six others at knifepoint by an unruly mob numbering about 250 people during the 2am incident.

Ramaji described the attackers as being of Malay ethnicity.

“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),” he told Malay Mail earlier.

Ramaji said several devotees and temple priests were conducting prayers when the attack took place, with the temple’s security guard sustaining serious injuries after being assaulted by the mob.

“They proceeded to ransack the entire place by smashing glasses, furniture and destroying the metal shutters where our deities are sheltered,” he said.

Acknowledging the devotees had attempted to retaliate, Ramaji said the scuffle took place after the devotees summoned reinforcements from outside for about an hour and half.

“When the attack took place, we immediately notified the police, but they only arrived around 4am, almost two hours after first contact.

“Our devotees clashed with the mob and successfully chased them into the jungles behind the temple,” he said.

Ramaji said immediately after the fallout, the mob left behind their personal documents like identification cards (IC) and driver’s licence, which have since been handed over to the police.

However, Ramaji disputed the police statement stating the scuffle was between two ethnic Indian groups and the real estate developer refuting its involvement, saying both were untrue.

“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,” he said.

The temple had been scheduled for relocation on November 22 involving real estate developer One City Sdn Bhd, the Selangor state government and two claimants to the temple management, K. Chellapa and M. Nagaraju.

Ramaji pointed out that Chellapa who claimed to be the temple committee chairman in name only had entered into a private agreement between the developers to sell the land which the temple sits on, while leaving others in the dark.

They claimed the judgment had been breached.

Asked what the next move for the temple was, Ramaji said the temple has since lodged a police report and requested for additional police protection until November 29 where an injunction will be applied at the Shah Alam High Court to withhold an earlier consented judgement.

“The Selangor police chief has promised to provide security until the hearing starts,” he said.

The scuffle which took place early this morning near the USJ exit of the Elite highway and USJ 16 and USJ 21 between the devotees of the Sri Maha Mariamman temple and a second group quickly went viral on social media.

The incident was said to have arisen due to a misunderstanding over the temple’s scheduled relocation.

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