Senior Indian diplomat to visit Singapore over ‘Little India’ riots


Senior Indian diplomat Anil Wadhwa is to travel to Singapore on Friday to discuss bilateral matters as well as the rioting that took place in December last year in the ‘Little India’ area.

The visit of Wadhwa, who is secretary, east in the ministry of external affairs, also comes as Singapore’s Attorney General’s office has said that a bus driver involved in the Dec 8 fatal accident of an Indian national, Sakthivel Kumaravelu, that sparked Singapore’s worst riot in 40 years, will not face any legal action.

The private bus ran over Kumaravelu, who worked in Singapore’s construction sector. The driver was arrested the next day, Dec 9, and released on bail pending investigations.

No offence was committed in the death of Kumaravelu, 33, it said, adding it carefully and extensively studied the evidence, including all relevant video footage of the incident and an independent expert report commissioned for the investigations.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here Tuesday that India is aware of the report of the attorney general.

“We are in contact with the Singapore side to ensure that the facts of the case are fully investigated and due action is taken. Secretary (East) will be travelling to Singapore soon to discuss bilateral issues, including the incident of riots in Little India.”

On the sentencing of an Indian national, Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, 32, for alleged involvement in the riots, the spokesperson said: “We are in constant contact with the Singapore side to ensure that all Indian nationals charged are provided the due process of law and legal assistance.”

Poopathi was sentenced to 15 weeks in jail for failing to disperse from “an assembly of about 10 men” at a nearby canteen despite police orders to do so. This is reportedly the first time a person has been charged and sentenced for failing to disperse.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian magazine in Melbourne)

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