Updated: 02/19/2014 20:43

Footage of accident that sparked Little India riot shown at opening of COI hearing

Footage of accident that sparked Little India riot shown at opening of COI hearing

The Committee of Inquiry hearing into the Little India riot started this morning with Senior State Counsel David Khoo giving a rundown of the evidence that will be presented in the coming weeks. 

In his opening statement, Mr Khoo said that evidence that establishes how the riot unfolded and how the authorities managed the incident will be shown in the first three weeks. 

Witnesses will include those who were at the fatal traffic accident involving 33-year-old Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, as well as first responders from the Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force. 

The fourth to sixth week of the inquiry will see evidence establishing the facts and circumstances that led to the riot. 

He noted that many have attributed the incident to the ill-effects of alcohol and others to the mistreatment of workers, such as salary and employment issues. 

He says it would be entirely possible that the incident could be attributable of a combination of factors rather than a single factor, noting that the focus must be on "fact-finding". 

The evidence of shopkeepers, foreign workers, and residents in Little India will assist in determining if alcohol was a factor that contributed to the incident while the Land Transport Authority and representatives of various transport companies will give evidence to explore the issue of overcrowding in Little India and problems that arose from it. 

Others who will give evidence include an expert in the field of behavioral science, non-Governmental organisations such as Maruah and Transient Workers Count Too, as well as foreign workers. 

Mr Khoo presented a graphic video showing how Mr Sakthivel tripped and fell under the bus. 

He also presented other video clips showing the Mr Sakthivel boarding and alighting voluntarily. 

Mr Khoo says oral evidence by the bus driver and the timekeeper will supplement the video evidence. 

He says they will reveal what they experienced in the immediate aftermath of the incident. 

Mr Khoo says that evidence from accident reconstruction expert, Dr Michael Tay, will aid the COI in appreciating the factors leading to the accident 

-By John Yip

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