GEORGE TOWN: Police have warned supporters of the golden and silver chariots against provoking each other during the Thaipusam celebration next week.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said police would not hesitate to take action to maintain order throughout the three-day celebration which is expected to attract 1.5 million visitors.
He said a team of policemen each has been assigned to escort the golden chariot by the Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) which is scheduled to depart at 5am on Wednesday, and the silver chariot by the Nattukotai Chettiars which will start its journey two hours later at 7am.
“We request the co-operation of the groups from both chariots not to cause provocation.
“We have met with both sides recently and we are not expecting any trouble.
“This is a stern warning against those who have the intention to cause disturbances and public unrest,” he told a press conference at the district police headquarters in Patani Road here yesterday.
ACP Mior Faridalathrash also said that like in previous years, alcoholic beverages were prohibited from being sold at refreshment stalls along the route to prevent any untoward disturbance caused by intoxication.
This is the first time two chariot processions will be held during Thaipusam in Penang.
The golden chariot will depart from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street and arrive at the Sri Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga, while the silver chariot would start its journey from the Chettiar-owned Kovil Veedu building in Penang Street to their temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga.
ACP Mior Faridalathrash said the chariot processions were expected to take about 13 hours to reach their destinations based on the time taken during past Thaipusams.
He added that road closures would take place in stages along the route.
He urged devotees to refrain from wearing excessive jewellery as there had been several cases of snatch thefts last year.
ACP Mior Faridalathrash also reminded the public to comply with instructions from police and to park at designated spots to avoid obstructing traffic.