KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) will now act as advisers to the police over "grey religious areas" when enforcing the law among the Indian community.
CID Director Datuk Hadi Ho Abdullah said police had come up with guidelines after discussions with the religious body on how to approach religious processions that could be violating the law.
"For instance, over the last few months we had gangsters in funeral processions, displaying insignias, logos and lighting firecrackers. We don't know if what they were doing was part of the funeral ritual.
"So we will refer to MHS on how to handle it. We don't want to interfere if the rituals are genuine," Hadi said.
MHS president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan said the group would observe the situation and advise officers accordingly.
"Looking at the recent case when gang members were involved in funeral processions, we observed several inappropriate conducts such as people displaying religious symbols like the swastika, waving flags, burning firecrackers and even drinking alcohol.
"These are not part of our religious practice, so we would inform the police, who will take action if it goes overboard," Mohan said.
He said MHS would also open its network of 1,900 temples nationwide to conduct talks and rehabilitation programmes for youths involved in gangsterism.
"We are happy to work with the police in taking steps to rehabilitate young gang members to ensure that they do not go back to crime and to educate others not to be involved," he said.
Meanwhile, Hadi defended Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi's controversial "shoot first" statement, saying he had been taken out of context.
"I have been in the force for 40-years and never have I heard of any directive to 'shoot first and ask questions later'. You can ask any of the officers.
"If you look at what the minister said, it has to be taken in the full context. He said only if there is clear evidence and if criminals start shooting or take out a firearm," he said.