The authorities will ensure a smooth silver and golden chariot processions to take place during the Thaipusam festival in George Town, Penang.
Registered Trustees Nattukottai Chettiar Temples Penang secretary and managing trustee M. Renganathan said the authorities have issued and approved permit for the silver chariot to start its journey from Kovil Veedu, Penang Street at 6.30am on Feb 8 and travel through the customary route to the Waterfall road.
“The silver chariot process will be accompanied by ‘separate police team’ providing security as assured by them in a meeting by the police on Jan 11.
“Among the order for the silver chariot procession are flag bearer cart, 80 kavadi bearers, 100 support personal to carry peacock feather, coconut breaking cart for pooja, the silver chariot drawn by two bulls and a lorry with chariot accessories.
“We have requested the police to help two chariot processions to strictly adhere to the distance and two hours’ time gap between the chariots as discussed during the Jan 11 meeting.” Renganathan said in a press statement today.
Since there will be two chariot processions one after another on the same route, the Chettiars have requested the police to provide additional security to ensure that the processions are peaceful and orderly.
“We also have asked a separate police team during the ‘return journey’ of the silver chariot procession.
“The silver chariot will leave Water Fall temple on the evening of Feb 10 and proceed to Penang Street.
“We humbly request all devotees to join in prayer and celebration of Lord Muruga and fulfil their vows and continue to break the coconuts as per previous years and fully support the traditional silver chariot procession as it embarks on its 160th year journey (123 years of silver chariot and 37 years of wooden chariot before that),” said Renganathan.
The DAP government in Penang has decided to launch a golden through the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB), a statutory body that manages Hindu endowments in Penang under trust, to rival the Chettiar community’s silver chariot.
Governed by an outdated colonial law – the Hindu Endowments Ordinance 1906, PHEB is not a religious authority.
Several legal experts have said that it was unconstitutional for the DAP government to interfere into Hindu religious activities vis-a-vis PHEB.