Woman alleges police hit her during Thaipusam

Woman alleges police hit her during Thaipusam

A 30-year-old Indian woman has filed a police report claiming that she was pushed and hit by cops during the Thaipusam procession on Tuesday.

The police confirmed that a report has been lodged.

"In response to media queries, the police confirmed that it received a report on Wednesday from a 30-year-old Indian female who alleged that three officers had hit or pushed her on Tuesday in Desker Road, during the Thaipusam procession," the police said in a statement.

"She is the wife of one of the accused charged for disorderly behaviour at the same procession. The police take a serious view of any allegation against its officers and will investigate each case thoroughly," it added.

"However, if the allegations are found to be false, appropriate action, in accordance with our laws, will be taken against any persons found to have furnished false information to the police."

A scuffle broke out during the Thaipusam procession on Tuesday. The police said that organisers had asked a group of people to stop playing traditional Indian drums, as it was not allowed under the event's police permit. Three men, who were part of a group which hired a different set of drummers, allegedly hurled vulgarities at police officers and injured one of them.

The trio, Ramachandra Chandramohan, 32, Jaya Kumar Krishnasamy, 28, and Gunasegaran Rajendran, 33, were arrested. They were charged on Saturday. They have been released on bail and will be back in court on March 6.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Endowments Board has said it will continue to engage the authorities in reviewing the rules for the annual Thaipusam procession.

Such engagement had resulted in the relaxation of rules in 2011 when the singing of religious hymns along the procession route was allowed, its chairman R. Jayachandran said in a statement on Saturday.

"Our Board values the views of Hindus and other stakeholders in our review of our services. Those who wish to give their feedback may write or e-mail us, or post them on our Facebook (page)," said the statement.

Some have questioned the ban on playing music at Thaipusam, after the incident last week.

In his statement, Mr Jayachandran also pointed out that the cost of organising the festival has been increasing, even though fees had remained the same over the past five years.

"The comfort, safety and security of Thaipusam participants are our priority, and we invest heavily in the infrastructure for the festival," he said.

Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran explained on Thursday that the ban on musical instruments applies to all foot processions, including religious processions. The ban, which has been in effect since 1973, was introduced because of fights between competing musicians which caused disruption to the procession and the devotees.

Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, in a Facebook post on Friday, said that Hindus should not feel they are being discriminated against because of the ban. They are the only religious group allowed to hold religious foot processions on major roads, he said.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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