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Use of lethal police force to control riots questioned Saturday, September 1, 2001
BY AMIT MUKHERJEE, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: The riots witnessed in the city over the last one week have thrown up one startling statistic. Two persons have died and both to police bullets. The police would lead one to believe that the toll would have been much higher had it not opened fire - to kill. But while the wisdom of the police to open lethal firing , without anybody having been killed in mob violence, is debatable , even the law enforcing agencies are pondering over methods of crowd control with minimum loss of life.
Indeed, sources say the government has decided to adopt "use of equipment with less lethal force" to control mobs but nobody is yet sure when the plan would be approved. Even on Thursday, a group of Muslims met the home minister , emphasising that on both occasions in the last week that the police opened fire , the results had been fatal.
A few months back , the home ministry decided to prepare a report, based on studies conducted on riot control techniques used worldwide, where minimum force is applied to control violent mobs.
Senior IPS officials have been entrusted with the job of conducting studies of techniques engaged in the West countries to "incapacitate and intimidate" violent football fans.
The officials preparing the report are going through various non-fatal options available.Apart from tear gas shells (CN gas shells), there are other catagories like DN gas shells which cause skin irritation and nausea.
Use of shock batons are also being explored which invalids violent agitators for about half an hour . "At the moment we are using 12000 volt shock battons which senior officials have, its use in the force is also being explored" , said an official.
City police commissioner P C Pande does not really agree that the use of less lethal force could be as effective. Pande says "when two groups are clashing with an intent of killing each other police cannot be non-lethal or even less lethal ."
The group preparing the report is contemplating on the use of Mascot 410 rifles which are similar to 303 but have a smooth bore. In 303 due to groves in the bore the bullets move out at a speed which can pierce through 7 people standing in a queue.The use of water cannons is also being dealt in the report. The city police has one water cannon cart , the use of which is restricted given its size.
News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]