Violent riots erupted outside of Malaysia’s Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple, over the relocation of the shrine. The clashes, that erupted at midnight, were reportedly between two groups who were in support and against the relocation. The rioters set several parked vehicles on fire.
Videos of the clashes that were shared on social media, showed some people turning a truck upside down, outside of the temple. Several people sustained heavy injuries in the riots.
As the violence escalated, police rushed in to control the situation. “The cause of the incident was a misunderstanding between two groups over the temple relocation issue,” the district police department said in a Facebook posting.
The plans to relocate the temple have been in process since 2007, after a real estate company named One City development, purchased its land, purportedly from the government.
In 2014, two groups claiming to be rightful administrators of the temple and One City development, entered a court settlement where it was agreed upon that the shrine would be relocated from its current location in USJ-25 to UJS-23. One City development had also donated RM1.5 million to the temple as part of the settlement agreement.
However, regardless of the court settlement, Hindu devotees of Malaysia, resisted the relocation from the very beginning. For past several weeks, devotees had been protesting against the relocation. Established in 1891, the temple is 147 years old and holds a special significance for Malaysian Hindu community.