Singapore riots: 24 Indians arrested, PM orders probe

Singapore riots: 24 Indians arrested
Singapore, Dec 9: Twenty-seven South Asian workers, including 24 Indians, were arrested today for alleged rioting in Singapore as its Prime Minister ordered a probe into the country's worst outbreak of violence in over 40 years.

Besides Indians, two Bangladeshis and one Singapore permanent resident were also arrested for the rioting on Sunday night after an Indian worker was killed in a road accident.

According to the police, at least 18 people, including 10 cops, were injured when a crowd of around 400 people set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in the Indian district of Singapore.

The trouble started after a private bus fatally knocked down an Indian pedestrian, 33-year-old Sakthivel Kuaravelu, around 9:20 pm at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most of the South Asian workers take their Sunday break, they said.

All the 27 arrested are in the age-group of 23-45 and face charges under "rioting with dangerous weapons", punishable by up to seven years in prison as well as caning.

The Indian High Commission in Singapore said it was calling on all parties to remain calm following the riot.

"We understand the situation is under control and Singapore authorities have appealed for maintaining calm by all sections of society. We hope all parties will maintain calm," said the High Commission in a statement.

High Commissioner Vijay Thakur Singh said the High Commission was in constant touch with the Singapore authorities to ascertain the facts of the incidents.

Mr Singh said the High Commission would inform the next of kin of Kumaravelu.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong conveyed his deepest condolences to the family of Kuaravelu and ordered a probe into the incident.

"I also offer my deepest condolences to the family of Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, who was killed in the traffic accident that preceded the riot.

"I have directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to convene a Committee of Inquiry (COI) to look into this serious incident. The COI will look into the factors that led to the incident and how the incident was handled on the ground," Mr Lee said in a statement.

He said the riot was a very grave incident and his government would "spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law."

Singapore previously witnessed violence of this scale during race riots in 1969.


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