Vigilantes to Spray Paint Women who don't 'Cover Up'

Vigilantes to Spray Paint Women who don't 'Cover Up'
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
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"Advance Warning to Hindu Female Patrons coming to Thaipusam festival, beware of being sprayed with aerosol paint if found inappropriate dressed," the warning on the Facebook page of Thaipusam Spraying Group reads.

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A vigilante group has warned that it will use aerosol spray paint on "inappropriately dressed" women at Thaipusam events in Malaysia.

The group, which sprouted on Facebook, posted pictures of purportedly "inappropriate" saree blouses as examples of clothing to avoid at the Hindu festival.

"Advance Warning to Hindu Female Patrons coming to Thaipusam festival, beware of being sprayed with aerosol paint if found inappropriate dressed," the warning on the Facebook page of the "Thaipusam Spraying Group" reads.

The page has 143 members and was founded by one Henry Barnabas.

On his personal page, Barnabas says the "Thaipusam Spraying Group" was founded to protect Hindu rituals and Indian culture.

"Let's spread the positive message through this group, so they will also get knowledge and respect the meaning of Thaipusam," Barnabas posted. "Most youngsters these days don't know our ancient history. Thaipusam for them is just to be glamourous, dancing with urumi melam (drums and percussions), etc. Let's bring some awareness among the youth and the upcoming generation."

Barnabas also blamed women for "behaving like call girls."

"Who to blame? Boys trying to protect girls but girls behaving like call girls and at the end of the day when they are in trouble, they will blame the guys," he posted.

Malaysiakini has contacted Barnabas for further comment on this.

Thaipusam Spraying Group's warning to women was also shared by popular content aggregator Facebook page ‘Unnekku 7.30 Arambam’, which has more than 41,000 followers.

It has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook as of yesterday, with netizens largely condemning the threat.

Many say women's bodies should not be policed, while others say there is a better way to encourage women to dress "appropriately" in temples.

"This is wrong. Instead of buying spray cans, buy shawls for them to cover. Tell them not to wear such clothing in the future," one commenter said.

Others also want police action against those threatening such action.

"As much as I agree that proper attire to temples should be a requirement, threatening to spray girls (with paint) is plain harassment.

"I will be making a police report first thing in the morning. Police, please take note," Facebook user Diyaa Mani said, tagging the official police Facebook account.

Many others also questioned why the same threats were not made against men who come to Thaipusam festival drunk, or wear jeans or shorts instead of traditional attire.

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published on Malaysiakini.

Editor: Edward White