Malaysia: Moral policing in Hindu festival draws criticism

Malaysia, Thaipusam, Hindu festival, Selangor, Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple, Penang Waterfalls Murugan Temple, Ipoh, Gunong Cheroh Murugan Temple, Sungai Petani, Kedah, Johor Baru, Thaipusam Spraying Group, Penang, Deputy Chief Minister, Professor Dr. Ramasamy

Hindu festival Thaipusam is around the corner and is a moment of happiness for the Hindus in Malaysia.

Thaipusam is a major Hindu festival in Malaysia and draws tourists from across the world. Millions of Hindus visit Selangor (Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple), Penang (Waterfalls Murugan Temple), Ipoh (Gunong Cheroh Murugan Temple) and the Temples in Sungai Petani, Kedah and Johor Baru.

But it seems that some people are using the festive occasion to do moral policing against women in Malaysia!

Thaipusam Spraying Group that sprang up overnight, and has 143 members, warns the Hindu women in Malaysia telling them to dress properly.

The group’s description read:

*Advance Warning* to Hindu Female Patrons coming to Thaipusam festival, beware of being sprayed with Arosal paint if found *inappropriate dressed…*

GROUP TYPE:

Get Things Done

The picture of the women back wearing designer blouses is its cover photo.  Check below:

Malaysia, Thaipusam, Hindu festival, Selangor, Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple, Penang Waterfalls Murugan Temple,  Ipoh, Gunong Cheroh Murugan Temple, Sungai Petani, Kedah, Johor Baru, Thaipusam Spraying Group, Penang, Deputy Chief Minister, Professor Dr. Ramasamy

Why is a group so obsessed with women’s blouses and to this degree?

Penang Deputy Chief Minister Professor Dr. Ramasamy slammed these threats as moral policing and said that this was unacceptable.

The twist in the case is, which even Ramasamy pointed out in style, was that the leader of this group was Henry Barnabas (a Christian name man)!

When we at Currentriggers.com searched for the admins of this Facebook group and we found that this Henry is now absent as the admin of the group of which he was the leader!

Following is the press statement by Prof. Dr.Ramasamy on the controversy:

“Recently an internet group called “Thaipusam Spraying Group” warned women who dress inappropriately during Thaipusam will be sprayed with aerosol paint.

The leader of this group “Henry Barnabas” (a Christian name) warned women that those wearing sarees with designer blouses exposing their back will be dealt with.
Another facebook (user) called “Karuthu Kannamaa” took issue with this group and warned them that this spraying group has not right to do moral policing and that men who cannot appreciate the role of women should not participate in Thaipusam, a religious festival, that will take place next month.
Since Thaipusam is a religious festival the issue of women dressing inappropriately does not arise in the first place. Thaipusam festival has been in the country for a very long period and this is the first time that this vigilante group has reared its ugly head.
In Penang, the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) organizes Thaipusam yearly with the cooperation of government and private agencies. Enforcement actions are left to the Penang Municipal Council and the police.
No other groups will be allowed to operate without the permission of the temple committee and the relevant government agencies.
There is no need for moral policing as Thaipusam is well managed by the PHEB in Penang. Moreover, vigilantes by their very definition are illegal and will not be allowed to operate.
The issue of this particular vigilante warning women will be raised in the next Thaipusam joint meeting to held in next few days here in Penang.
As the Chairman of the PHEB, I will make sure that Thaipusam in Penang will not tolerate this kind of extremism whether it comes from this group or others.”

His words have brought much relief to devotees but who in the right mind would obsess over the blouses of women. Those who are behind this group must be brought to justice for threatening Hindu women devotees in Malaysia and must be dealt strictly.

Check out how moral policing failed in Malaysia last time:

How Malaysia got its first Saree Day

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