KUALA LUMPUR, 4 Feb 2009: Stern action awaits those organising illegal gatherings during the Thaipusam festival at Batu Caves this weekend, police warned today.
The three-day event, which is expected to attract some one million Hindus, tourists and people from all walks of life, should be trouble-free and the cops are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a safe atmosphere.
Gombak OCPD Abdul Rahim Abdullah told a news conference today that those wanting to organise gatherings in the vicinity of Batu Caves should apply for a permit from the police.
“They can organise gatherings, but need to follow certain conditions, such as they should not spark any provocative issues or bring up racial sentiments. We are not going to compromise with troublemakers on Thaipusam.
“Thaipusam is a religious festival, so why not everyone give their fullest devotion and make it a trouble-free celebration. Do not create any untoward incidents which will trouble other devotees,” he said.
Abdul Rahim also said that the police would take action against those who wear T-shirts with the tag of “Hindraf” as the movement was banned by the government last year.
He said police intelligence had released a list of some 85 wanted criminals who might turn up at the festival.
Police also had information that certain gangster groups might fight during Thaipusam and plainclothes policemen would monitor the situation round the clock, he said, adding that about 1,000 police personnel from various units would be deployed for this year’s Thaipusam.
Three mobile police stations would be deployed to receive complaints from the public, especially on theft.
Meanwhile several roads around Batu Caves will be closed on 6-9 Feb.
The affected areas are Bulatan Batu Caves, Kepong intersection, Simpang Batu Caves, Simpang Kg Melayu, Jalan Sungai Tua, Jalan Batu Caves, Jalan Masjid Amaniah, Simpang Jambatan Jalan Lama Batu Caves and Simpang Jalan Perusahaan.
At the same news conference, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Committee president Datuk R Nadarajah dismissed rumours that the cave might collapse.
“Batu Caves has actually been safe for years. And as an assurance we have assigned a private geological firm to conduct tests on the cave’s structure.
Yesterday the geologist confirmed that the cave is very safe and this has dispelled all the rumours.
“I would also like to inform the people that this year’s charges for ‘Pallkuddam’ (carrying milk pot) are reduced to RM5 (from RM10 last year) while those the taking kavadi will be charged RM10,” he said. — Bernama