THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Paying heed to the criticism that police lathi drills were designed to maim the protesters and that is a violation of human rights, the Police Department has finally decided to scrap the deadly moves that posed a threat to life. The new set of drills that advocate soft use of force and prepared by DIG K Sethu Raman was ratified by State Police Chief (SPC) Loknath Behera on March 3.
Though the revised syllabus was prepared by Sethu Raman in 2009 when he was the commandant of Kerala Armed Battalion IV, it took more than a decade for the revised drills to see the light of day. The new lathi drill sets are devised as a deterrent and avoid hitting the head, neck, stomach and face, which was the practice earlier. As per the new syllabus, lathi will be used on the hands (upper cut) and below the waist (lower cut). “The intention behind the revised drill set is to make it less hazardous to the life and health of the public, who are at our receiving end.
The people are not our enemies and a mild force should only be used against them in normal situations. There is no need for using heavy force on the public in Kerala,” said a senior cop. As per SPC Behera’s order, the maximum number of police personnel should be taught the new drill within 100 days.
The revised drills will now be taught in the battalions and police camps. Four cops- Ganesh Kumar N, Shahir Sha, Sanjushan M G and Rakesh V S- are the master trainers and they will impart the drills to the newly inducted Civil Police Officers and sub-inspectors in the first stage. Police sources said the delay in revising the drill was due to the objections raised by a few senior IPS officers, who were of the opinion the crude lathi drills should not be revised.