Thaipusam incident: Statement from Mohan

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This is a user contributed piece

Dear everyone,

For the past three days, there had been various reports, news & articles with regards to the 3 men arrested for the incident that happened at Thaipusam 2015. I am one of the 3 men who were arrested at the incident. This post would be my part of the story, not to justify what I have done, but to let the public know my point of view.

My cousin brother was one of the kavadi bearers in Thaipusam. The first time we were approached was at the Perumal temple by the temple officials. They ordered the “Urumi group” boys who were playing the “Thavil(indian traditional instrument)” to stop playing the music. We seeked their cooperation and understanding to allow the boys to play the thavil while he was piercing the 108 spikes, this was so that he can be distracted from the pain. My brother was carrying a traditional kavadi which weighed roughly about 100kg, therefore he needed to be distracted from the pain as well as the piercings. However, the temple officials were adamant about not letting the urumi boys play while he was piercing. When we asked why they could not let the boys play, they replied that these were regulations set by the SPF, and that they were merely following SPF’s orders. We then abided to their rules and regulations and asked the Urumi boys to stop the music.

We then left the Perumal temple, and started the holy procession in a very solemn manner. The urumi group we hired did not play any music as they were sent off by the higher officials and were not allowed to follow my brother’s kavadi. However, as we approached Kitchener Road, the urumi group boys joined us again. They were playing music for us and followed us till Desker Road. At Desker Road, the urumi boys were then pulled aside again, aggressively this time, by the temple officials . My cousin brother who observed the situation went in to mediate as those urumi boys were engaged and paid by us. He questioned those who pulled the boys away on why they were being pulled away, and that these boys were engaged by us. He argued with them asking why weren’t we allowed to play the Urumi & Thavil which are traditional indian instruments. It was emphasized in the media that we were the one playing the instruments at the procession. However, the truth is, we paid and hired a urumi group to play music for my brother’s kavadi. There were about 15 to 20 temple officials and blue uniformed (unable to identify whether they were police or certis cisco in the chaotic situation) men who were involved in the argument. Suddenly, there were a group of guys (about 20-30 guys) who barged in and started manhandling us, trying to push us away from the urumi group. I noticed that my cousin brother was manhandled, being pulled by his tshirt to and fro to a corner, and i also saw his wife was running behind him, trying to pull the husband away from them. A group of men were pushing me and trying to bring me to the ground violently. At the point of time, I noticed my sister-in-law being pushed to the ground, that was when I got agitated and aggravated and I rushed towards my sister in law. From my point of view, the person who pushed my sister in law was wearing a white tshirt. I broke free from the group of men, and I punched him, thats when10 men pinned me down on the road aggressively, suffocating me. They kneed and backheeled me on my face, and said “you dare to punch a police officer”. That was when I realised this group of men were police officers. We were then brought back to the station.

It was stated in all the reports and media news that “3 men were arrested and they smelled strongly of alcohol”. I would like to clarify this statement because this is not the truth at all. I do not consume alcohol AT ALL. There were tonnes of other people at that chaotic situation, & the alcohol smell could have came from anyone at all. So it was wrong for them to have accused us of being drunk and creating nuisance. How could media like “Channel NewsAsia, Vasantham Tamil News, Straits times etc” publish in their news that I was drunk and creating nuisance. Under what basis or what proof did they release this news? Was the conclusion that we were drunk based on the report giving by the SPF?

Secondly, how can a policeman (whose identity was later revealed) push a woman down to the ground? Isn’t it a violent act against a woman (under the woman’s charter)?Why is it that in all the media, this action of the police force was not justified? In my point of view, this is not the behaviour of a police officer, but it is more of a rowdy act. My nephew and niece who witnessed the whole incident were traumatised and could not stop crying. In that chaotic situation, it did not hit my mind that it was a police officer who behaved such.

Also in the statement provided by Minister S ISWARAN in the article “S ISWARAN: PLEASE DON’T OVERREACT ABOUT THE THAIPUSAM INCIDENT posted on 5 Feb 2015 in “The Real Singapore”, “He acknowledged that three people were arrested at the Thaipusam procession on Tuesday for playing drums.” My question to you is Sir, How could you have acknowledge a statement which was not true? We were not drummers or we were not playing the instruments. All instruments were played by the Urumi group we hired.

Thirdly, the root cause to all this chaos was the playing of traditional indian instruments, such as Urumi and Thavil. Being the organizers of Thaipusam, the Hindu Endowment Board should stand up for the Indians and justify the playing of indian traditional instruments for a holy procession. I voiced out to the officials that if Lion Dance are allowed for chinese events and kompangs are allowed for malay events, why aren’t Indians allowed to play our traditional instruments. I did not mean it as a racial remark, but just as a comparison. But I was labelled a racist, giving racist remarks, which is again a false accusation.

In summary, this is my point of view. I am not here to justify my actions, but just to create awareness amongst the public who had been giving different stories everyday. It is NOT TRUE that I was drunk during this chaos as mentioned in all the official news reports. In my opinion, I feel Hindu Endowment Board is not deemed fit to represent us, Indians. They do not know what are our needs, and I believe they could have handled the situation better, and giving us proper explanations when we questioned them, and not pushing the blame to the police and the Govt.

It is heartwarming to see people from the public coming forward to give their opinion and feedback about the whole situation. I believe they are entitled to their freedom of the speech and should not be questioned or interrogated by any of the higher officials

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post.

Regards
Mohan