Singapore to impose alcohol ban along Hindu festival route

Singapore to impose alcohol ban along Hindu festival route

Singapore will impose an alcohol ban in the area where the Hindu religious festival Thaipusam is to be celebrated on Friday, police said.

The ban would be in force from 6 pm tomorrow to 6 am local time next Monday in the Little India precinct, where weekend alcohol ban is imposed during weekends following the December 8 riot involving some 400 migrant workers from South Asia.

Thaipusam marks the anniversary when Lord Murugan received a Vel (spear) from his mother Goddess Parvathi so he could vanquish an evil demon.

It also commemorates Lord Shiva's dance of the 'ananda tandava' that revealed His form of Nataraja at the hallowed Shiva temple of Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.

Besides South India, Thaipusam is annually celebrated by the Tamil community in Singapore and Malaysia and has become a tourist calendar event in both places.
The Thaipusam procession would begin tomorrow 11 pm local time from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road in Little India and end at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, just off the central business district.

Individual group of Hindu worshipers would continue the procession in turn through Friday 11.59 pm local time.

K Shekaran, chairman of Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, said, "We have informed all devotees through guidelines that consumption of alcohol and smoking is not permitted within the processions route.

"The new initiative covers beyond the procession route and that will help further enhance organisation of the event and maintain the sanctity of the religious event," Channel News Asia quoted Shekaran as saying.

Alcohol ban was introduced to restore law and order after the riot in Little India, which gets crowded over the weekends and during holidays with migrant workers from South Asia spending their day off amidst a cluster of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs.

The spontaneous riot on December 8 was sparked by an accident in which an Indian national was killed.

It was Singapore's worst street violent in 40 years.

The rampage left 39 police and civil defence staff injured and 25 vehicles -- including 16 police cars -- damaged.

Twenty-five Indian nationals are facing riot charges in court.

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