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Crowd wanted to help man pinned under bus, Tamil online group tells Little India Riot COI

Published on Mar 10, 2014 12:19 PM
The wrecked private bus at the junction of Race Course Road at the aftermath of the Little India riot on Dec 9, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN 

A representative from the Tamil community here on Monday told the inquiry into the Dec 8 riot that the crowd gathered around the scene of the fatal accident, which sparked the violence in Little India, had merely wanted to help.

But they grew rowdy after their attempt to "rescue" their countryman - Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, whose body was pinned under a bus - was spurned by emergency first responders that night. "Generally, this Indian workers are loving people and they are the first to lend a helping-hand," said Mr M. Govindaraju."They wanted, if possible, to move the bus forward and retrieve the man from underneath."

But when asked for his source of information by former NTUC president and COI member John De Payva, Mr Govindaraju - who was not at the scene on Dec 8 - said it was mainly hearsay. "It was from what I heard (from) some neighbouring shop(keepers) who don't wish to be named," he told the COI.