DMPQ- Mention the important procedure in Handling public protests and dharnas

The procedure regulating the use of force is outlined in the police manuals of different states. Some of the important points are as follows:

  • The police must invariably secure the presence of a magistrate where it anticipates a breach of peace
  • The decision to use force and the type of force to be used is to be taken by the magistrate
  • Once the order for the use of force is given by the magistrate, the extent of force to be used will be determined by the senior-most police officer
  • The extent of force used must be subject to the principle of minimum use of force
  • Use of force should be progressive i.e firearms must be used as a last resort if tear smoke and lathi charge fail to disperse the crowd.
  • Common tearsmoke which causes no bodily injury and allows recovery of affected persons should be used.
  • Clear warning of the intention to carry out a lathi charge should be given through a bugle or whistle call in a language understood by the crowd. If available, a riot flag must be raised. If the police officer in-charge is satisfied it is not practical to give a warning, s/he may order a lathi charge without warning.
  • If the crowd fails to disperse through the lathi charge, the magistrate or the competent officer 8 may order firing.
  • The police are not on any account allowed to fire except on a command given by their officer.
  • A warning shot in the air or firing over the heads of the crowd is not permitted.
  • An armed force should maintain a safe distance from a dangerous crowd to prevent being overwhelmed, or increasing the chances of inflicting heavy casualties
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