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Little India Riot COI: Senior State Counsel identifies 3 main themes of hearing

The Little India riot along Race Course Road on Dec 8, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Little India riot along Race Course Road on Dec 8, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Committee of Inquiry (COI) hearing into the Little India riot which took place on Dec 8 last year is an opportunity to take stock of events, address concerns and consider improvements that reduce the risk of such an incident recurring, said Senior State Counsel David Khoo as he concluded his opening statement on Wednesday morning.

He said: "Above all, it brings us a step closer to ensuring that while our nation cannot be crisis-proof, we are always crisis-prepared".

Citing "much to do in the coming weeks", Mr Khoo said that the three main themes of the COI, which is expected to last six weeks, can be summed up in three words: how, why and what.

Firstly, he said that the hearing aims to find out how the accident which killed Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, occurred, how the riot unfolded and how the authorities managed the riot. It will also look into why the riot took place and why the rioters reacted in such a violent manner. Mr Khoo said that it is "entirely possible" that the incident was "precipitated by a combination of factors rather than any single factor".

Finally, the hearing will look into what current measures there are in place and what future measures need to be implemented. He added: The Committee may recognise that the steps which have to be taken to minimise the recurrence of such incidents may need to be multi-faceted in nature."