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Singapore bans alcohol in Sunday riot area

Singapore bans alcohol in Sunday riot area

Singapore: Sale and consumption of alcohol will be banned this coming weekend in Little India’s Race Course Road area where riot broke out on Sunday night after a fatal accident.

Announcing the ban on Monday, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran said details of the ban, such as exactly what time it would apply and what geographical area it would cover, would be worked out by the police.

Though it was too early to say definitively what caused the riot, which was triggered after a fatal traffic accident, it is “plausible that alcohol consumption was a contributory factor”, The Straits Times quoted the Minister as saying.

“And that is why we have taken this step in the first instance in order to stabilise the situation,” stressed Mr. Iswaran after visiting the area last evening.

Transport Minister and Member of Parliament for the area, Lui Tuck Yew, said that he has wanted curbs on the sale of alcohol in the area for some time, after seeing the proliferation of liquor licences there.

“I know my residents will fully support this immediate measure,” he said.

Mr. Lui and Mr. Iswaran visited the area on Monday, during which they spoke to shopkeepers there.

Meanwhile, flowers, as a respect, were laid on road curbs at the spot along Race Course Road on Monday where the 33-year old Indian national died in an accident with the bus.

Local media reports said Sakthivel Kumaravelu was drunk when he forcefully boarded an already full bus. He was told to get off the bus when he misbehaved.

According to illustrations in The Straits Times, Kumaravelu got off the bus but was pinned under the rear left wheel when the vehicle made a left turn.

Police’s rescue team trying to extricate Kumaravelu’s body was attacked by the crowd gathered around the scene.

The crowd grew boisterous and lobbed bottles, chairs and projectiles at the rescue crew, hindering their work.

The Straits Times also reported citing Begali newspaper Banglar Kantha editor A.K.M. Mohsin as saying that the construction work fell over at the Race Course Road and Tekka Lane junction.

Shortly after, in front of a crowd of other workers, Kumaravelu was run over by the bus, according to the report in The Straits Times.

As tensions rose, the mob of about 400 South Asians, cheered, whistled and yelled vulgarities in Tamil, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, the bus driver, who had been regularly plying workers from their dormitories to Little India and back, was in a state of shock.

The driver, known as Lim and by common name Ah Huat, was attacked by people throwing stones at him. The 55-year-old driver had injuries to his head, arms, back and legs, the Singapore daily reported citing the driver’s daughter.

The bus was to take the workers including Kumaravelu to their dormitory in the Jurong industrial estate on western part of Singapore.

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