NEW DELHI: One of India’s top engineering institutes — Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi — has tied up with the National Police Academy, Hyderabad, and Defence Research and Development Organisation to prepare effective models of “mob management”.
The agreement has come up at the behest of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which feels that the existing methods of crowd control, in case of violent protests, are either too harsh or ineffective, sources said.
“A team of researchers at the institute has already started studying various methods that police and other forces have been using to control violent gatherings, be it the protests in Jammu and Kashmir, Jat agitation in Haryana in 2016 or protests by the supporters of Ram Rahim when he was arrested in 2017,” a top official from IIT Delhi told The New India Express.
“We will analyse the pros and cons of all the methods used and suggest how it could have been better. The project also entails giving some specific models to manage mass agitation with maximum impact and minimum damage,” he said.
“We understand that crowd control first requires a police officer to understand the mob psychology, and have the ability to handle a crowd tactfully but firmly, and disperse it with the minimum use of force. The research work will form the part of training module that is used to train Indian Police Service officers at the NPA,” the official said.
Government sources said that a study carried out by the Bureau of Police Research and Development about a year ago had listed several alternatives in the category of “less lethal weapons” developed around the world in recent times to control riots or violent agitations, but it required further validation through scientific analysis.
“The IIT, Delhi has been tasked with the research project in the backdrop of the heavy criticism faced by security forces for their use of pellet guns in J&K and insufficient management of crowds in Haryana in recent times, which resulted in massive damage to public property and law and order,” a government source said.
He pointed out that the police mostly uses a less lethal weapon — a water cannon developed
by DRDO, which was used for the first time in Ayodhya during the Babri Masjid demolition — but it does not serve the purpose many times.