ALSO BY

By S Param

Be wary of religious issues used for political gains

It is heartening to learn that finally the MIC is taking a strong stance on several issues and events affecting the Indian population in the country.

The peaceful demonstration held at the Selangor Menteri Besar's office by the MIC Youth wing recently to protest against the demolition of a Hindu shrine inside the compound of a house by the Sepang Municipal Council (SMC) workers is understandable.

The act of sledgehammer-swinging SMC officers trespassing into private property has been condemned by practically all walks of people, including Pakatan elected representatives (MPs and Aduns).

I am sure the Selangor government has learnt a bitter lesson and will take the necessary steps to prevent similar embarrassing incidents in the future.

Having said that, I do not think it is a wise decision of the MIC Youth wing to challenge the authorities to rebuild the altar (‘MIC to rebuild altar in house' The Star, 13 Nov).

We should allow the law to take its course.

We should wait for the outcome of the promised investigation by the authorities over the incident and what they plan to do next.

As loyal citizens of the beloved country and true followers of the Hindu tenets and teachings, we should show respect for the law and the government of the day.

Ideally MIC should advise the owner of the house to reapply to Sepang Municipal Council to seek permission to build the altar in accordance to the stipulated guidelines.

If it is turned down by the authorities then take them to court. Let the courts decide.

The MIC, representing a large portion of the Indian community, should not be seen as a party that is encouraging civil disobedience in the name of safeguarding the religion and democratic rights.

There must be a limit to our actions. Do not manipulate religious issues for political gains as it may backfire just like what happened in the Batu Caves condo issue.

All religious issues should be handled in a rational way without arousing unwanted charged emotions.

Although I condemned the rash and insensitive actions of the Sepang municipal authorities, I for one do not subscribe to the notion that as Hindus we should blindly champion religious incidents of this nature.

There is a need to thoroughly investigate the incident as evidence is slowly trickling down to show that ample warnings had been issued to the owner of the altar before action was taken.

It cannot be denied that there are individuals and groups out there who are taking advantage of the current political situation to manipulate and abuse religious freedom in the country.

The MIC and the Malaysian Hindu Sangam and other religious and social bodies should be very careful of these people in our midst.

Do not let emotions run wild to the point that rationality is blurred or buried.

The MIC should not spend too much time on this matter but continue to do its good job by focusing on other urgent social and economic issues that are close to the Indian community.