BATU CAVES – The Thaipusam festival went on smoothly yesterday as increased police and army presence ensured no major incidents were reported nationwide.
The reassuring presence of soldiers and cops ensured devotees and visitors to Batu Caves and other temples in several states were able to move around freely and perform their vows and prayers without having to worry unduly about their personal safety and threat to life.
MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who was at Batu Caves for the festival, said the police earned another feather to their cap for their subtle approach in managing the security at temples around the country.
“The Thaipusam festival at Batu Caves can be considered as one of the most unique celebrations in our country and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar for deploying additional police personnel on the ground to ensure the safety of the public, devotees and tourists,” he said in a press conference here yesterday.
Following the recent terror attacks in Jakarta, Subramaniam said the public were a bit apprehensive although they had to accept the reality of a possible terrorist threat.
However, he added, all went smoothly with no major untoward incidences reported.
Subramaniam also called on the authorities to take proactive measures to ensure safety and security of Hindu devotees making their Thaipusam pilgrimage.
“I hope the police and traffic personnel will escort these devotees through their pilgrimage journey to avert being victims of road accidents. Their safety is very important,” he said adding that security should also be beefed up for other festive celebrations.
He said this in response to the accident which claimed the lives of three devotees and another three sustaining serious injuries along the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway on Saturday morning.
In GEORGE TOWN, Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said the celebrations went on smoothly.
He said the situation was in order along the Thaipusam hot spots in Jalan Kebun Bunga as policemen were stationed to monitor the crowd.
He assured devotees and visitors that police were doing their best to ensure the safety and security of everybody.
“So far so good,” he said after visiting the police’s “Thaneer Panthal” (refreshment stall) and a walkabout along Jalan Kebun Bunga.
Accompanying him were state deputy police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan and several police officers.
Abd Rahim was also greeted by many devotees as he made his presence felt and mingled around with the devotees who strolled along the street.
In IPOH, Perak police chief Datuk Osman Salleh joined police personnel making their rounds at the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh.
“Our top priority is safety of the people,” Osman told reporters after distributing goodie bags and food at the temple in conjunction with Thaipusam today.
He said apart from the usual duties carried out by the police, they are also alert for current threats that are faced by the nation obtained through police intelligence.
For Thaipusam, Osman said, people and tourists are moving about freely due to the increased presence of policemen and army personnel everywhere including in and around the temple.
Army trucks, a mobile police unit and patrol cars are stationed near the temple.
Earlier, Osman visited the Perak police contingent’s “Thannir Panthal” (refreshment stalls) which had been distributing food and drinks to devotees.