Century-old Hindu Shrine In Alor Setar Risks Demolition For Road Project

  • 28 Jun 2020

A Hindu shrine more than 100 years old opposite the Alor Setar railway station in Kedah, is facing the risk of demolition to make way for a road project. 

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported the plight of the Sri Madurai Veeran shrine, which was set up under a tree by Indian labourers laying train tracks from Butterworth to the northern frontier in the early 20th century, at the spot given to them by the Malayan Railways in the early 1900s. 

The shrine's caretaker C Vijhay Mohen, told the portal that the demolition notices sent by the Alor Setar City Council (MBAS) since late last year have stated that the shrine, measuring a mere 10 feet by 3 feet, was disrupting traffic outside the station, was illegal, and thus, should be brought down to allow a road construction to take place. 

Vijhay claimed that attempts to register the shrine with the Registrar of Societies have failed as it was deemed "too small", despite it having about 3,000 regular worshippers. The temple, however, is registered under the Malaysian Hindu Sangam. 

He further alleged that numerous attempts to meet the MBSA top brass and written correspondence to the council, have gone unheeded. 

Vijhay, however, managed to meet the state menteri besar on June 22, to discuss the matter, but was told that the temple should be cleared out within 10 days. 

"A day later, his special officer called to say we have 10 days to clear the shrine.

"Where are we going to fo? Can't they offer us another piece of land nearby?" he was quoted, adding that the shrine should be kept "alive" to remember the sweat, blood and tears shed by the Indian labourers who built the railway. 

Meanwhile, following the highlighting of the issue, the state government has ordered the shrine's demolition to be temporarily put on hold, pending a meeting with its owners next week.

Source: FMT
Photo source: FMT

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