PM sets up Committee of Inquiry to investigate Little India riot

Aftermath of the riot seen in Little India, Race Course Road and Buffalo Road on Monday, Dec 9, 2013. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that a committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate the causes of the riots that broke out
Aftermath of the riot seen in Little India, Race Course Road and Buffalo Road on Monday, Dec 9, 2013. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that a committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate the causes of the riots that broke out in Little India on Sunday night. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that a committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate the causes of the riot that broke out in Little India on Sunday night.

"The COI will look into the factors that led to the incident and how the incident was handled on the ground. It will also review the current measures to manage areas where foreign workers congregate, whether they are adequate and how they can be improved. MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) will provide more details when ready," he said in a statement.

PM Lee said the riot was an isolated incident arising from the unlawful actions of an unruly mob reacting to a fatal traffic accident.

"The vast majority of foreign workers in Singapore are law-abiding workers. They contribute to our economy, working hard to earn a living and support their families back home. We must not allow this bad incident to tarnish our views of the foreign worker community here," he said.

He also offered his deepest condolences to the family of Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, who was killed in the traffic accident that preceded the riot, and urged Singaporeans to remain calm and continue with their daily lives.

"Support our frontline officers in the Home Team, and share any leads you may have with the Police. Let us stay united as one people as we deal with this unfortunate incident, and keep Singapore a safe and orderly country," he said.

Police have arrested 27 people in connection with the riot, which was triggered by the death of Mr Kumaravelu, a 33-year old Indian worker, who was run over by a private bus at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road.

In an update at 4pm on Monday, the police said that of these 27 people, 24 are Indian nationals, 2 are Bangladeshi nationals and one is a Singaporean Permanent Resident.

As at 12pm on Monday, 22 police officers and five auxilliary police officers have sought treatment at the hospital, the police added.

The officers sustained injuries and lacerations and all of them have since been discharged from hospital.