Attack on African Students in Bangalore Reminds me of Little India Riots in Singapore

Earlier this week Bangalore, considered India’s Silicon Valley, was in ferment following attacks on students there from Africa. A girl student was stripped naked and beaten up.

The attacks came after a road accident involving a student from Sudan, Mohammed Ismail – the car he was driving is reported to have hit and killed a local woman.

More shocks were to follow, with both BJP and Congress leaders living in denial and rushing to describe it as a law and order problem, and not a racist one. Karnataka is a State ruled by the Congress and the BJP were blatantly trying to take political advantage of it.

Indians taking law into their own hands after any road accident is nothing unusual. That is a common scenario in the country and that is precisely what results in hit-and-run cases. Who will want to stop his car and attend to the victim when he knows he will be lynched by the public?

My Experience: I was myself involved in a minor accident in Chennai years ago when a mob attacked the driver of our car after it hit a bike that jumped traffic lights. In backward India, traffic violations are rife. The biker only had minor bruises but our driver received blows after blows and had to be treated in a clinic. It was my mother’s intervention that stopped the blows.

Singaporeans will know how Indian workers in the country disturbed their peace by resorting to riots in 2013 after a road accident. That was the first riot in Singapore in more than 40 years.

Singapore initiated swift action, including deportation of many involved in the riots. Whether Singapore has learnt any lessons from it is still unclear as the Little India area on Sundays still brims with Bangladeshi and Indian workers.

G Joslin Vethakumar


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Filed under General, Little India Riots

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