26 June 2014 08:45 | By Ng Jia Yi
Little India Riot: Six months on

How Little India has changed since the December 8 riot

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Angry mobs wrecking a bus, police cars being set alight, projectiles being hurled at paramedics - these are scenes most of us have only seen on TV and in movies. But this was very much a reality in our own backyard on the night of December 8, 2013.

A riot broke out in Little India after an Indian national was struck by a private bus, and quickly escalated as more than 300 foreign workers joined in.

In the aftermath, new laws and policies were settled upon the region in order to maintain order and prevent something similar from happening again.

The steps that were taken include alcohol curbs, Public Order Act and new traffic management measures.

Alcohol consumption in public areas is prohibited on weekends, public holidays and the eve of public holidays, although businesses are allowed to sell liquor from 6am to 8pm.

The Public Order (Exempt Assemblies and Processions) Order was amended specifically for the area around Little India. With the new act in place, all public assemblies – regardless of whether they are held indoors or outdoors – would require a police permit.

Police were also given a wider range of powers, which included the authority to conduct searches on anyone who enters the affected area, and ban individuals from the district if they are considered to be threatening public order.

However, this act was revoked on April 3, and police were given a smaller set of powers that allow the authorities to “continue to take calibrated measures to maintain public Order in Little India”, said the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Additionally, The Land Transport Authority (LTA) halved the number of private buses that are used to ferry the foreign workers to and from Little India. The last bus now leaves earlier at 9pm, instead of 11pm previously.

It has been six months since the measures were implemented, and the dust has settled. We take a look at the effects the riot and new policies had on the district.

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