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Thaipusam scuffle – woman files report alleging police assault

thaipusam

The Singapore Police has confirmed that a police report has been filed by a woman of being assaulted by officers during last Tuesday’s Thaipusam procession at Serangoon Road.

The 30-year old woman is believed to be the wife of one of the three men who were arrested and accused of behaving in a disorderly manner in the scuffle with police officers.

The officers had been called in after the three men questioned the organisers of the event who had told them to stop playing musical instruments as this was disallowed.

A scuffle broke out and in the process the men are now accused of using vulgarities and injuring one police officer.

The police later issued a statement on the arrest which said “all three men were believed to have been drinking earlier as they smelt strongly of alcohol.”

However, in another video which has emerged online, the trio are apparently seen behaving normally prior to the incident, clapping their hands and singing hymns or chanting to lend support to a kavadi carrier.

One of the men rejected the charge that they had been drinking.

“I would like to clarify this statement because this is not the truth at all,” he said in a Facebook post. “I do not consume alcohol AT ALL.”

“It is NOT TRUE that I was drunk during this chaos as mentioned in all the official news reports,” he added.

The three men, who are reported to be relatives, are currently out on bail.

The police report lodged by the woman is accusing the police officers of having hit or pushed her during the scuffle.

In a video of the incident which was posted online, a woman was seen falling onto the ground during the confrontation. (full video)

Questions have also been raised on the police’s handling of the incident and of the ban on music and musical instruments during Thaipusam.

Law Minister, K Shanmugam, explained on Saturday that in fact Hindus are given “a special privilege not enjoyed by others” in being able to hold such public foot processions, and that Hindus were not being discriminated against, as charged by some.

“No other religion is given this privilege,” he said. “So the Hindus are actually in a privileged position. There are many other religious groups which have asked to be allowed to hold foot processions. These appeals have generally been rejected.”

In the meantime, the police has issued a statement in response to the police report filed by the woman.

“Police take a serious view of any allegation against its officers and will investigate each case thoroughly.

“If any allegations are found to be false, appropriate action, in accordance with our laws, will be taken against any persons found to have furnished false information to the police.”