24 Indians arrested in Singapore after riots

INTERRiot police stand guard as a vehicle goes up in flames after a riot broke out in Singapore’s Little India Sunday night. AP/PTI

Twenty-seven South Asian workers, including 24 Indians, were arrested Monday for alleged rioting in Singapore as its Prime Minister ordered a probe into the country's worst outbreak of violence in over 40 years.

Besides the Indians, two Bangladeshis and one Singapore permanent resident, whose origin was not known, were also arrested for Sunday night's rioting, triggered by a road accident that killed an Indian worker.

At least 18 people, including 10 policemen, were injured when some 400 people attacked the police and damaged 16 vehicles in an Indian district here, police said.

The trouble started after a private bus fatally knocked down an Indian pedestrian, 33-year-old Sakthivel Kumaravelu, around 9:20pm at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most of the South Asian workers take their Sunday break, they said.

All the 27 arrested are in the age-group of 23-45 and face charges under "rioting with dangerous weapons", punishable by up to seven years in prison as well as caning.

The Indian High Commission in Singapore said it was calling on all parties to remain calm following the riot. "We understand the situation is under control and Singapore authorities have appealed for maintaining calm by all sections of society. We hope all parties will maintain calm," said the High Commission in a statement.

PM Lee Hsien Loong conveyed his deepest condolences to the family of Kumaravelu and ordered a probe into the incident. "I also offer my deepest condolences to the family of Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, who was killed in the traffic accident that preceded the riot.

"I have directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to convene a Committee of Inquiry (COI) to look into this serious incident. The COI will look into the factors that led to the incident and how the incident was handled on the ground," Lee said in a statement.

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