SINGAPORE, April 4, 2015 (by Jeanette Tan, Singapore News): Hindus in Singapore are not only not discriminated against, they are in fact in a “privileged” position, said Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam. In a lengthy status update on his Facebook page on Friday evening, the minister, himself a Hindu, was saying this in response to many questions posed about the long-standing bans on religious foot processions as well as the playing of music during religious processions. Noting that the ban on religious foot processions has been in place since after riots in 1964, Shanmugam said Hindus are the only ones given an exemption for their three processions by foot: namely Thaipusam, Panguni Uthiram and Thimithi.
“When other non-Hindu religious groups apply to hold foot processions, they are usually rejected,” he wrote. “On rare occasions when it is given, stringent conditions will be imposed including much shorter routes, unlike Thaipusam which lasts the whole day and goes through major roads.” On Thursday, Singapore’s Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran explained that the country’s ban on playing music at processions was implemented because of fights between rival groups that disrupted them.