Riot rattles Indian workers

Riot rattles Indian workers
LURE OF LITTLE INDIA: Little India, the scene of Deepavali celebrations in November, is beloved by workers from India, who feel at home there.

Almost a week after about 400 Indian foreign workers created history in Singapore by rioting, their countrymen are reeling from their actions.

They are nagged by worries that they may not be able to continue working here.

"I didn't do anything, but I have that slight fear that my work permit will not be renewed because I know that what they did is very wrong," said Mr Muthupandi Mariappan, 31.

The construction worker with a renovation firm echoed the feelings of many of his counterparts who have come here to earn a living.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam met about 40 Indian nationals at their dormitory in Kranji on Wednesday to allay their fears.

He told them that as long as they were not involved in the riot on Sunday, there will be no consequences for them.

Uncertainty about their future aside, workers are also afraid that people in Singapore will judge them based on the actions of a minority.

Some have already accepted it.

"People here may be afraid of us for some time. We have to adjust to it, and improve our reputation again," said Mr S. Saravanan, 29.

But so afraid was Mr Gobal Chinnan that others would look at him differently that he hesitated to make the journey to Little India from his Kranji dorm on Wednesday.

But the attraction of the place was too great. MyPaper found him nursing a bottle of beer at Tekka Market.

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