A video showing police personnel lending a helping hand to carry a statue of a deity in preparation of the Thaipusam celebration has been circulating on social media, warming the cockles of Malaysians’ hearts.
The policemen were seen assisting to carry a large deity statue alongside several other temple personnel just before the Thaipusam chariot left from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple to Batu Caves.
Initially, many social media users were questioning why more than 10 people, including police officers, were allowed to take part in what seemed to be the annual chariot procession. After all, the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the National Security Council (MKN) stated that only 10 temple personnel were allowed to follow the chariot with no music to be played and without making any stops.
However, Dang Wangi police chief Mohamad Zainal Abdullah clarified in a statement on Thursday (28 Jan) that the policemen in the video were only helping the devotees to speed up the process of carrying the deity statue to be placed on the chariot, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
According to the police chief, the devotees requested their assistance as only 10 personnel were present at that time so as to adhere to the SOPs for the chariot journey to Batu Caves.
“All the officers and personnel involved were Hindus,” he added.
The video was recorded at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at around 3am on Wednesday (27 Jan).
Over on social media, a handful of netizens applauded the efforts of the police officers in offering a helping hand to the devotees.
Several others find no fault with the police officers carrying the statue of the deity, as they are all Hindus, and were there to help expedite the chariot movement anyway.
Thaipusam is a celebration where many Tamil Hindus honor Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war and a son of Shiva usually in the month of January or February.
During Thaipusam, Lord Murugan is lavished with gifts of gratitude and devotion for prayers to be answered.
Thaipusam commemorates Lord Murugan’s gift of a vel (spear) from his mother, Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love and fertility.
According to Hindu belief, Lord Murugan uses the spear to defeat the demon Soorapadman.
Devotees ask Lord Murugan for strength and guidance to overcome obstacles they face, whether external or within themselves.