Corrected on 28 Jan 2009 at 11.30pm
IT was not an ordinary death, and so it was not an ordinary funeral.
A Kugan’s funeral on 28 Jan 2009 drew hundreds of people who followed his body in a procession from the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) across Petaling Jaya to Puchong Batu 14, where he was laid to rest.
In between, the procession stopped at the police station at USJ8 where he died on 20 Jan while in police custody. The family members performed prayers there before the cortege moved on.
The funeral resembled a political rally; Kugan had come to symbolise injustice by the authorities.
The 22-year old had been arrested on 15 Jan on suspicion of being involved in the theft of luxury cars but died while being questioned by the police. Police claimed he died of fluid in the lungs, but his family insisted his body showed signs of torture and demanded a second post-mortem.
His death provoked a storm of protests and the case was classified as murder by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on 23 Jan.
Mourners at the funeral shouted political and anti-police slogans as they accompanied his hearse, even as the sizzling heat turned into a heavy downpour as it neared the Hindu cemetery. Many mourners wore orange T-shirts of the banned Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf); six men were arrested by the police.
Despite the hostility from the crowd, police and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel only kept a close watch on the proceedings from UMMC right to the burial site. There were fewer police at the cemetery, but a police chopper kept an eagle eye on things.
By the time the procession gathered near the cemetery, the crowd had swelled to close to a thousand.
At 5.25pm, Kugan’s casket was lowered carefully into the slippery, muddy ground.
Though Kugan is finally at rest, the investigation into his death is slowly gaining momentum.
See also: Kugan buried in Puchong