Worker buried in hometown, groups raising funds for family

Worker buried in hometown, groups raising funds for family

Construction worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu rarely hung out in Little India during his days off.

In fact, the Sunday he was killed after being run over by a bus at the junction of Tekka Lane and Race Course Road was his first visit there in more than two months, said a co-worker.

The Indian national, who gave his name only as Mr Kumar, was also Mr Sakthivel's roommate at the Terusan Lodge, in Jalan Papan in Jurong.

"Sakthivel was a very good man," said Mr Kumar, 30. "He didn't talk a lot but we would drink outside the dorm and makan (eat, in Malay) together on Saturdays."

His friend's death is widely believed to have sparked Sunday's riot in Little India that saw police and paramedics attacked by a mob.

On Thursday, Mr Sakthivel was buried in Chattiram, the village he grew up in. It is located some 400km from Chennai in India.

His mother, who has been ill, broke down when she saw her son's broken body, said family friend Kaliyappan Karthick, 28, who was at the burial.

Mr Sakthivel was the eldest of three siblings and his family's sole breadwinner.

He is survived by his mother Rajalakshmi, 53, and younger brother Ramesh, 25, who has a brain injury.

His father died five years ago, and he lost his younger sister just three months ago. It was at her funeral that family and friends had last seen him.

Some 300 people turned up to pay their last respects to the 33-year-old man, said Mr Karthick. Many in his hometown had felt that he had done well by going abroad to earn a living and support his family.

He had been working at Heng Hup Soon, a scaffolding company in Singapore, for about two years, before he apparently stumbled and fell into the path of the bus and was killed. Police said he was drunk at the time of his death.

Mr Sakthivel's demise may have led to the riot, resulting in the worst violence and damage Singapore's streets have seen in decades, but it has also prompted Singaporeans to come forward with offers to help his family.

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