R Manimegalai, 53, was killed at the Arulmigu Visaiatchi Sametha Viswanathar Sivalayam Paripalana Sabah Temple in Buntong when a statue fragment collapsed onto her head.
Following the incident at approximately 9.50 a.m. on Sunday, Perak police chief Comm Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said the woman was presumed dead while seeking medical treatment at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (May 15).
The woman was at the temple to commemorate Maha Kumbhabishegam, according to Comm Mior Faridalathrash.
He said in a statement that two other female devotees also suffered light injuries.
“This case has been characterised as sudden death. Witnesses may contact the police or phone the investigating officer, Asst Supt Mohd Hassbullah Hasan, at 013-555 5585, to help with the inquiry,” he added.
Videos of the incident have surfaced online especially via TikTok, where users were recording the temple puja, or special prayers, when a small part of the temple called the koburam fell and landed on the deceased’s head.
The prayers were continued eventually, once she was moved outside.
Viewers and witnesses alike were dumbstruck by the incident, flooding the comment sections of the TikTok videos with a unified voice of concern and fury.
A few users noted that as per standard procedure, the temple area directly below the crane should have been barricaded, providing no possible entry for worshippers to stand below the crane extension.
While a majority of netizens criticized the temple management for failing to comply with JKKP (Jabatan Keselamatan Dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan Selangor) regulations, some have noted the spiritual significance of the matter as the death occurred during the chanting of the Shivan mantra.
Additionally, temple-goers have urged the public to avoid the temple grounds for the next month, as per Hindu beliefs whereby a death that takes place in a house or other closed space is deemed dosham, something negative or non-favourable, which would usually call for certain abstinences including casual visitation.
Others simply regarded the incident as a human error, stating that no one was particularly to blame.