Book Launched on Little India Riot in Singapore

Gurdip Singh/Singapore
Book Launched on Little India Riot in Singapore
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

Ahead of the first anniversary of Little India riot in Singapore, a book has been launched recalling the worst street violence in the country in 40 years.

Titled Riot Recollections, the book has interviews of 30 people who witnessed the violence on December 8 last year, sparked by a fatal accident involving an Indian national.

Photographer Zakaria Zainal roped in local writer Prabu Silvam to put together the 80-page book on the riot in which 54 police and security officers were injured and 23 emergency vehicles were damaged as street violence broke out amidst some 300 migrant workers in Little India.

Eight civilians were also hurt in the riot, according to the book.

While the book is not a blow-by-blow account of the riot, Zakaria hopes the personal stories would resonate with readers.

"People tend to remember only the images of the burnt or overturned ambulances, but humans were involved too and we wanted to unearth the stories that probably never made it to print," The Sunday Times quoted Prabhu, 25, who works with a publishing firm.

Commenting on the book, 29-year old Zakaria said, "I thought the best way was to ask people who were in the area what they saw and heard."

"Only 30 people agreed to be interviewed for the book out of the 50 approached", he said.

Sakthivel Kumarvelu, a 33-year-old Indian national working in Singapore's construction sector, was run over by a private bus and killed.

Angry migrant workers, mostly from India, reacted to the fatal accident and rioted in the Little India, a popular precinct with workers from South Asia for its Indian-origin shops, eateries and other outlets.

Twenty-five Indian nationals were eventually charged in court for rioting. Most of the Indian have been jailed and deported.

Singapore authorities also deported 52 Indian nationals immediately after the riot last December.

Singapore media has widely reported this weekend events relating to the riot and after that, which included a state-appointed Commission of Inquiry in the street violence, a week-end restriction on alcohol in Little India.

Three hundred people have been caught for consuming alcohol during prohibited timings since temporary measures to maintain public order in Little India came into effect on April 1 this year, police said on Thursday.

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