Channel NewsAsia

A lookback at the Little India riot

Channel NewsAsia takes a lookback to the riot in Little India -- the first riot in Singapore in 40 years -- ahead of the report by the Committee of Inquiry on the riot.

SINGAPORE: Channel NewsAsia takes a lookback to the riot in Little India -- the first riot in Singapore in 40 years -- ahead of the report by the Committee of Inquiry on the riot.

The riot started at the junction of Hampshire and Race Course Road -- a fatal accident involving Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu led to the first riot in Singapore in 40 years.

It was on December 8, 2013, just after 9.20pm.

Agitated by the turn of events, crowds started smashing the windscreen of the bus, torching and over-turning police vehicles, as well as an ambulance. They also threw bricks and projectiles at first responders.

The immediate aftermath of the riot was the introduction of the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Bill, which effectively declared parts of Little India a special zone.

This put Little India in a state of heightened alert, so as to allow authorities to maintain public order.

Some measures included giving police greater powers of search and arrest, and restrictions to the sale and consumption of alcohol.

On February 19, about two months after the riot -- the public hearing for the Committee of Inquiry commenced at the State Courts.

The task for the committee was to find out how and why the riot happened, if measures to contain it were adequate, and to propose recommendations to reduce the risk of similar incidents in future.

The fact-finding process lasted five weeks.

One of the most dramatic footage seen during the inquiry was one of SCDF officer Tiffany Neo shielding the bus driver as she tried to escort him out of the bus to safety.

More than 90 witnesses were heard -- they included business owners from Little India, non-governmental organisations, first responders at the scene, as well as foreign workers.

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