Little India Riot: Local Tamil group has its say at COI

Mr M. Govindaraju from the STC.

TWO representatives from a group called the Singapore Tamil Community (STC) had their say at the Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the Dec 8 riot. This was part of their exchange with the COI members on Monday.

Why did the crowd gather around the bus that ran over and killed an Indian national along Race Course Road?

•Mr M. Govindaraju from the STC: One person got crushed under a bus and those surrounding him were thinking of how to save him. They wanted, if possible, to move the bus forward, and retrieve the man from underneath (but) the first responders who came on the scene, they chased the crowd away instead of asking them to help.

•COI member John De Payva: Where did Mr Govindaraju get this information from?

•Mr Govindaraju: It's from what I heard, what our group gathered from speaking with others... Some neighbouring shop(keeper)s, they don't wish to be named, I spoke on the phone with the shops. Was alcohol a major factor that led to the riot?

•State Counsel Sharmila Sripathy: Does STC accept that alcohol was one of the contributing factors to the riot on that night?

•Mr P. Raveentheran from the STC: If it was the case, and if there's alcohol (being drunk) every weekend, then there should be a riot every weekend. I spoke to a lot of friends, this is the constant refrain: "It's a joke. If alcohol was the cause, then every weekend there should be a riot."

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