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Friend of police officer who committed suicide, reveals the struggles and discrimination he faced in Singapore Police Force

The tragic loss of Sergeant Uvaraja S/0 Gopal, a dedicated officer of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), has left the nation in shock.

The 35-year-old Singaporean was found unconscious at Block 393 Yishun Avenue 6 on 21 July 2023 and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

Prior to his death, Uvaraja had disclosed allegations of workplace discrimination, bullying, and systemic corruption within his team at the Ang Mo Kio North Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) via an extensive Facebook post.

A close friend and former colleague, Raj Naga, has stepped forward to share a vivid account of the painful circumstances that led to Uvaraja’s tragic suicide.

In a heartfelt Facebook post just a day after his friend’s passing, Raj described Uvaraja as a “highly disciplined police officer who was deeply passionate about policing and fighting crime.”

He recalled Uvaraja’s “distinctly rigid sense of duty” and his commitment to serving the public above appeasing superiors.

Raj recounted their history, first meeting Uvaraja when he was serving his National Service as a patrol officer in 2007.

He traced Uvaraja’s journey from National Service to becoming a regular officer in 2012, and posting to Ang Mo Kio Police Division, demonstrating his friend’s unwavering dedication to law enforcement.

Raj’s post also detailed a series of heartbreaking incidents that affected Uvaraja mentally and emotionally.

Raj writes, “In early 2015, he argued with his Team Leader over a racial slur and reported the matter to his Commanding Officer (CO). However, he faced conflicts with his teammates who did not back him up and the Team Leader was not held accountable.”

This initial conflict seems to have set off a cascade of unfortunate events, from being ostracised by his teammates to rejected transfer requests and challenges with superiors who did not believe in his medical conditions.

In December 2015, Raj recalled a particularly distressing incident where Uvaraja’s CO questioned the validity of his medical conditions, used vulgarities, and shouted at him to resign. Uvaraja was on medical leave at the time.

The incident was so stressful that it triggered an investigation against the CO. Despite this, Uvaraja’s transfer request was turned down, and he received a low performance grade.

Raj also spoke of Uvaraja’s dedication to his ill mother and his struggles growing up in a household burdened with debt due to an alcoholic father.

This backdrop highlighted the desperation and strength of Uvaraja’s resolve in face of personal and professional challenges.

In a poignant conclusion, Raj said, “Raja may have made mistakes during his time in the force, but who hasn’t? Everything he ever did as a Police Officer was in pursuit of ideals that he held dear…he destroyed his career when he first blew the whistle against his superiors. No officer deserves to be held back and thumbed down for so long.”

In his post made just before his untimely demise and ironically on Singapore’s Racial Harmony Day, Uvaraja claimed he was frequently undermined, demeaned, and even bullied due to his race.

He described instances of being sidelined despite his strong performance and being loaded with the team’s work while receiving little recognition.

Furthermore, he alleged that his superior had repeatedly sabotaged his career progression and mismanaged his performance evaluations.

He also recounted an incident in 2019 where his leave application was shredded by his superior because he wished to use extra duty hours to attend a prayer.

Uvaraja alleged that he faced threats from his superiors when he attempted to raise the matter with higher management.

In addition, Uvaraja revealed he had worked closely with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau to provide information regarding officers illegally smoking vapes in the office.

He expressed that his whistleblowing efforts were met with increased hostility and ostracization within his department.

In 2021, Uvaraja invited his team to his wedding, but he was allegedly boycotted, with no one showing up.

Uvaraja described himself as a dedicated officer and double diploma holder with merit from Temasek Polytechnic, leaves behind a legacy of service to his community, having eradicated gambling syndicates and secret societies among his many contributions.

In his final message, Uvaraja stated, “I served with honor and distinction but today I am being bullied, treated without humanity and workplace harassment. […] By the time you are reading this, I would have gone with dignity and the pride I have.”

Uvaraja also addressed his friend, Raj, asking him to tell the truth to the world.

Despite assurances by Home Affairs and Law Minister, K Shanmugam, that SPF will investigate the matter thoroughly and be accountable, netizens have expressed dissatisfaction, with many insisting on an independent body to conduct the inquiry to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The Facebook post that was removed

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