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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30, 2015:

The Vivekananda Ashram board of trustees’ application for a judicial review against the decision to declare the ashram a heritage site has led to a protest by an angry group of 60 people today.

The group gathered at the Ashram in Brickfields, spoke against the appeal and proceeded to bang against the door of the ashram in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Kuala Lumpur, to speak to the committee members.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof Dr P. Ramasamy called on the Vivekananda Ashram board of trustees to hand in their resignation for failing to act in the interest of the Indian community.

“The message we are giving them is really simple, do not touch this building.

“If you want to develop other places go ahead, do not challenge the federal government’s gazette.

“If you can’t protect this ashram, which is 110 years old in the interest of the Indian community, then you should not be the trustees here, hand in your resignation,” he said when met by reporters.

Ramasamy said they were now “traitors to the Indian community”.

He said the board of trustees should withdraw their appeal.

“In the interest of the Indian community they should withdraw the case.”

He said there was no value on heritage.

“They can make any arguments they want on why they need the development, but you cannot put a value on heritage.

“Learn from previous mistakes where people listened to former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, when he said he needed to use money for all kinds of things, what happened, what happened to Maika Holdings.

“We are not willing to listen to this garbage, just don’t touch the building,” he stressed further.

The Ashram board of trustees had appealed against the National Heritage Department’s declaration of the century-old ashram as a historical site.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had declared that the ashram would be gazetted as a national heritage site.

It was reported that the trustees submitted a proposal to build a 23-storey apartment tower on the land in its bid to raise funds for the schools and charities under its care.

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