Sunday, November 30, 2014

Another protest for Vivekananda ashram

4:38PM Nov 30, 2014 Malaysiakini

By Terence Netto

Another protest for Vivekananda ashram

Another protest mounted by supporters of the cause of preserving the Vivekananda Ashram was held in Brickfields today.

The ashram has been the focus of media interest when public protests burgeoned after news broke out that the site on which a shrine to Swami Vivekananda was erected in 1904 is slated for commercial development.

The shrine was build to mark the visit of Swami Vivekananda to Malaya early last century when the Hindu divine was famed for introducing his religion to western audiences and initiating inter-faith encounters with other religions.  

Today’s protest was led by the Save Vivekananda Ashram Action Committee, the same one that presented a memorandum to Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz at Parliament house last Thursday.

DAP national vice chair M Kulasegaran (left), who was present at today’s protest and at the presentation of the memorandum to Nazri, said the minister had already spoken to Federal Territory Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to preserve the site as a heritage one.

A group from the Save Vivekananda committee, comprising Dewi Kunjeeri  Sambathan, daughter of the late VT Sambathan (former cabinet minister), Sitpah Selvaratnam (lawyer), and Raja Singham (from Brickfields Law College) and Dr Chris Nicholas (an accountant) had met Nazri in Parliament House to discuss the status of Vivekananda Ashram.

Others present at the meeting included Kulasegaran, DAP MP for Bukit Bintang Fong Kui Lun, DAP MP for Kota Melaka Sim Tong Him, and Heritage Department officials.

The memo presented to Nazri contained legal arguments against plans to commercially develop site where the ashram is located.

After participating in this morning’s protest, Kulasegaran said the Tourism Minister’s assurances that the site would be preserved were heartening but “we can’t rely on the assurances of the well-intentioned because these days, mercantile considerations are known to override historical and cultural ones.

“We have to rouse public interest and concern so that the wider public is sensitised to the importance of preserving this religious and cultural monument for the generations to come,” said the MP for Ipoh Barat.

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