Little India goes quiet as workers keep away

Little India goes quiet as workers keep away
A police team patrolling Kerbau Road in Little India. Shopkeepers said the usual Saturday crowds at Mustafa Centre and Tekka Centre had halved. Most businesses catering to migrant workers - including eateries, video sellers and mobile phone shops - reported a sharp dip in takings.

If last Saturday was any indication, Little India today will see little of the usual Sunday scenes of packed shops and eating places, with crowds of men everywhere.

An alcohol ban and messages since last Sunday's riot advising foreign workers to cool down and keep away appeared to have worked throughout Saturday.

In the evening, the police advised people to refrain from assembling in Little India this weekend and allow the community "the space and time to recover from the events of last Sunday".

They also warned that organising or participating in a public assembly without a permit is illegal.

As at 10pm, police said, there were no incidents reported, no breaches of the alcohol ban detected, and no one was caught for consuming alcohol in public.

The authorities had earlier urged dormitory operators to keep men within their living quarters and provide recreational activities.

As a result, the typically vibrant and bustling district looked unusually quiet. Alleys usually thronged with hundreds of migrant workers chatting on mobile phones were conspicuously empty.

Gone too were the snaking rows of men waiting for their turn at barber shops and money changers.

There was a stronger police presence on the ground, with teams of officers making the rounds on foot.

Shopkeepers said the usual Saturday crowds at Mustafa Centre and Tekka Centre had halved.











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