Little India Riot Suspect Unidentifiable

DSP N Subramaniam, the police officer who ordered the arrest of a young man who had demanded an entrance in an off-limits area during the Little India riot 2013, admitted this Tuesday that he could not recognize him now.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) N Subramaniam’s testimony emerged during the cross-examination by the defence lawyers who were trying to prove that the construction worker Mahalingam Thavamani had not obstructed the police officer from dispersing the crowd that night. Thavamani, the first to claim trial among the 25 charged for their role in the Dec 8 riot, had his rioting charge downgraded to obstructing a public servant on the first day of his hearing this Monday. Furthermore the Special Operations Command officer Lim Ke Wei, who assisted in the arrest by handing over the cuffs, also testified he could not recognize the 27-year-old in court.

Under Section 152 of the Penal Code, anyone who obstructs a public servant in the course of his work dispersing an unlawful assembly or suppressing a riot faces a jail term of up to eight years and/or a fine. “(Mahalingam) was becoming agitated, his tone grew louder and (he) was adamant that he wanted to enter Belilios Road,” said DSP Subramaniam,“Sensing that the situation was becoming tense, I went forward and advised (him) that he cannot enter … and that he should leave.” Instead, the crowd became rowdy and disobeyed instructions to disperse, he added.

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