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Water cannons and cannonisation of the governance of protest

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*
The current farmers protest in India is inching towards the first anniversary mark pertaining to the several issues identified by the farmers on the enactment of three new farm bills as Farms Acts on September 27, 2020. As a tribute, this article is about a lesser talked subject in the protests: the ‘Water Cannons’ used to suppress the farmers protest a few times. Anything that has the word ‘Water’ catches my attention and so I thought of educating thyself.
Sometime ago, the water cannons were applied by the military with the order of the home ministry of the government to stop the farmers from a peaceful protest march to Delhi that turned into violence. The article looks at the water cannon as a machine and highlights the tricky relationship of the man with the machine impacting its use in the governance of the protests that is affecting the soul of a democracy. What makes it important to look at this watered weapon is that a machine meant for military activities to defend territories is now applied for civilian and political activities. Its use as a tool for suppression at the ongoing national farmers protest to its recent use by the State Government of Madhya Pradesh on a few protesting political leaders signal that neither the central-state governments nor citizens are fully aware the institutional aspect of it. What it also signals that a military operated weapon is being used by police on civil matter. Now whether this is in guise or not are discussed here as a matter of water cannon literacy for thyself and for the readers.
The article starts with a brief on the water cannon as a machine; followed by a brief on the farm laws on which the farmers started a peaceful protest; further followed by a critique on the water and the canon of the water cannon; and finally, a discussion on the use of the water cannons in the governance of protest and what it means to a democracy. The article excludes discussing the rightfulness (or wrongfulness) of the new farm laws as well as the current farmers protest, since the focus is on the use of water cannon as a tool for the governance of protest, in other words, who are allowed to do what with what tools and how to use the tools.

Water Cannon as a Machine in India

Searching information on the Water Cannons in general and in India, one finds not much information but the ones available are alarmingly interesting facts on how man kept losing its intent of existence with more and more inventions pertaining to defense and survival of mankind. The well-known Defence Research & Development Organization of India on its webpage on Water Cannon writes (as on 28.11.2020) about this high-tech machine as, “Varun-Vehicle Mounted Water Cannon System provides an effective, non-lethal means for dispersal of violent mobs. The system can deliver continuous/ pulsating water jet through two rotatable platform cannons mounted on the top of the vehicle. A provision to mix irritant/ indelible ink has also been incorporated in the cannon system. The equipment has been integrated on TATA LPT 2518 and 2515 and has a capacity of containing up to 12,000 litres of water. This system can deliver continuous or pulsating water jets mounted on top of the vehicle. More than 84 units have been produced and are being used by police forces throughout the country.”
The Indiamart in its water cannon selling portal puts Water Cannon with the adjective ‘Riot Control Vehicle’ written in bracket whereas the company selling it calls itself Shri Ganesh (a name of God in India!) Fire Fighting Private Limited, Delhi. An informative ontology of water cannon market, type, application, global production players, region and country level analyses from Ajay More tells that, off late there is a growing demand of water cannons in the world by the ruling governments and if one links it with the growing protests by the citizens against various reasons spanning from farming to fascism, it is no surprising but definitely a concern. The question is, why water cannons were built and how its role & use changed over time?
Since history until now, several machines, from the simple bow & arrows to pluck & hunt to the arms and ammunitions, fighter jets, bombs, nuclear bombs, etc. that were made for survival & protection of men are now being used more as a threat to hurt or punish the very same men who build it including raging war and suppression. For example, the first and last sentence of the DRDO’s webpage info philosophically reflects a sign of the lost intent of the invention of the machine if that is to be used against man.
So, as we see that in India the ‘Water Cannons’ that were made to protect men from fire originally are being used to punish the farmers in order to stop them to reach Delhi to discuss the farm laws with the national government, in other words from taking away the fundamental right of the farmers to protest as a citizen of a democracy. The very meaning of the use of the machines for survival/defense is sabotaged by the power of the few besides the urge to acquire more. Water cannons are now important tools around the world for governing protests and riots.

The Farm Laws and Farmers Protest

The ongoing #FarmersProtest is pertaining to the three new farm laws enacted on 27th September 2020 as Acts by the Union Government of India through the assent of the President and approval of the Parliament. The name of the three new farm laws as Acts are:
1. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020;
2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Services Act 2020; and
3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
Farmers protest is a regular part of the political ecology and economy of the country and rightly so since India being a Agro based economy. For example, there was a similar farmer’s protest march against the agrarian crisis in 2018, when the current two Acts of were opposed as the Private Member Bills. Then 2017 saw the Tamil Nadu farmer’s ire with the government. No one can forget the 2016-17-18-19-20 long marches of the Maharashtra farmers including the recent one in September on the current Farms Acts of the State. Like most protests, the protesting farmers groups current are expected to take the permission to protest and are supposed to protest peacefully.
The right to protest peacefully is also enshrined in the Constitution of India through the Article 19(1)(a) that guarantees the freedom of speech & expression and the Article 19(1)(b) that assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. The protest approach applied peaceful approaches of Satyagraha and non-cooperation like the, Gherao, Dharna, Raasta roko (Traffic Strike), Demonstration, Suicide.
The ongoing farmers protest is projected to be only happening from the Punjab farmers however, the figure above shows that the farmers protest is pan India and is happening in peaceful mode. Though the water cannons (and various other means like barricades, barbed wires, trench on the highway, tear gas, and even calling the paramilitary forces) are used only by the Haryana Government at the border of the Haryana and Delhi state to stop the farmers from reaching Delhi because of which the situation turned violent, it is important to discuss its use before the use is exercised in other parts of the country and otherwise too as a matter of concern.
There is full body of literary work available on the farmers protest by scholars from pan India and the media. The focus on the use of water cannon and linking it with the intent of the governance of protest in India in the recent times is meant to add to that body of knowledge since, since not much is written publicly-scientifically on the (mis)use of water cannons in the context of protest and what that means to a democracy. A pressing line from P Sainath of the People’s Archive of Rural India (focusing on the farming and farmers) in NDTV interview sums up the worries too on the current governance of protest in the country, “Barricades, barbed wires, Border Security Force, 10-foot trenches, water cannons… was that the Line of Control or was it Haryana?”.
On the one hand, the water is in question and on the other hand, the cannon is in question. Understanding the machine will help understand the water as well as the canonization of the governance of protest besides understanding the governance by the government. Since, common people (including the several government officials who are made to operate them as part of their job) are uninformed about the institutional aspects of the water cannon, but when this military equipment is to be used internally on the common people, then it requires a serious public discussion and debate besides dissemination between the science and the society.

The Cannon in the Water Cannon

The water cannon that started with fireboats and firetrucks to control fire with its force and volume of water have come a long way to be used to control protest/riot. They are also used in the mining (as hydraulic jets) to move the layers of sediment in the earth’s crust (Breeding and Ziegler, 2002 (i), in agriculture, forestry, rock tunneling (Colley, 1974 (ii) and all forms of military operations.
The first firetruck water cannon was used in Germany in the 1930s, during the suppression in the divided Germany. Interestingly, the now united Germany uses the water cannons regularly like any other country indeed to protect the people from the fire but more aggressively to punish the protesting people (and at times also the protest by the opposition party), for example, its recent use in September was to disperse the anti-lockdown protesters from the streets of the German capital, Berlin. However, when the farmers protested early this year in January against the unwarranted environmental regulations, the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, recognized that the farmers protest was a “burden for Berlin,” but “the farmers have their point of view” and that locals would “have to tolerate” the upheaval. The Long convoys of vehicles of the farmers were allowed in the capital and thus allowed the protest to happen with respect.
There is an important learning for governance and democracy for India, which Germany has learned with great price. India too has already paid a great price during the long independent movement and the Emergency time (1975-77) besides, the price common man continues to pay in the rising militarization and capitalization of resource governance. With the increasing farmers dissent and the governance slipping to the governmental mode besides the rising climate change impact on the farming, the country is bound to pay heavy price for farming, food, hunger, and water especially if the government intends to govern (suppress) its men (farmers) with the machines like the water cannons.
Anyway, coming back to the cannon of the water cannon, most water cannons are laid with cannons in the front and back to splash (throw) with force as much as 20 litres per second a large volume of water on all sides. As per the DRDO, the TATA produced water cannon can deliver continuous/ pulsating water jet through two rotatable platform cannons mounted on the top of the vehicle. In the past the water cannons were operated mechanically but they now are available with remote controlled from inside the machine with a joystick. In the 50-70s the firetruck water cannons would knock protesters down and on occasion, tear their clothes.

The Water in the Water Cannon

A water cannon truck may carry around 10,000 litres plus of water. As per the DRDO, the TATA produced water cannon has a capacity of 12,000 litres of water. Using water in the water cannon did not stop the human endeavors as humans have always gone past their own inventions to explore more. The simple early water cannons have several upgraded versions from being tools of protection to the tools of suppression and surveillance. The water cannons have been used in more harmful ways by changing the nature of the water. For example, in 1996 in Indonesia, the government used British-built water cannons with ammonia on the students from the University of Ujung Pandang in South Sulawesi, who were holding peaceful non-political protest over a hike in transport cost. The ammonia containing water led students suffer several skin burns. A year ago, the Indonesia Government had used water cannons with pink dye to the rioters from opposition party PDI could be traced and punished. The practice of dying water now appears around the world. For example, from Belfast in the 1970s, from Uganda, Hungary, Turkey to the recent ‘invisible’ dye in Afghanistan that only shows up under UV lights and further to the UK company SmartWater developing a forensically coded water.
Most modern water cannons are capable of payload of teargas also. For example, in 2013 a payload of water cannon was laid with liquid teargas by the Turkish Police on the Gezi Park protests which led to several burns to the protestors. To further the extreme of the water (mis)use, the Police Departments in the United States are reported to have bought a foul-smelling liquid developed in Israel to repel protesters named as, ‘skunk water’. The skunk water is invented by Israeli firm Odortec that claims that skunk is made from ‘100% food-grade ingredients” and is “100% eco-friendly – harmless to both nature and people’. Ironically, endorsed by the Israel Defense Forces as an effective, non-lethal, riot dispersal means reducing the risk of casualties. The police described it as a ‘humane’ option to control rioters. The skunk water was first used by the Israeli military against Palestinian demonstrators in 2008 and now the water cannons spraying the stinky liquid have become a regular feature in Israel besides in the US for use at border crossings, correctional facilities, demonstrations and sit-ins. Use of such faecal-smelling substance in recent US riots has intensified anger against the Police, and deepened the racial and social divisions in the country.
To my limited knowledge, India has not yet recorded harmful payload in the water cannons except in 2012 on the protesting government employees though in the current efforts to stop the farmers protest reach Delhi the water cannons and tear gas were used by the state government of Haryana.

Opportunity Cost of the Water and the Cannon

The Water Cannons (and other means) that are used to deter a peaceful protest is not only undemocratic but also naïve in a country that reels under water crisis especially when there are not enough means worked out to ease out the manufactured water crisis for the marginalized which are mostly the farmers. Since, India is among the worst water distressed country in the world and according to the government report by the Niti Ayog India’s water demand by 2030 is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for a majority of the population and an eventual six per cent loss in the country’s GDP. Nonetheless, the water budget and the water required in the water cannons is meagre with respect to the country’s GDP contribution by the combined military and the home affairs budget and thus it is naive to relate them.
However, as a water scholar, it is difficult to resist talking about the waste of water in the water cannons splash in the process of the governing (suppressing) the protest. The 12,000 litres of a water cannon machine in one payload though may sound less as per the water footprint of the most consumables like the average production of a kilo of beef to a cubic feet of building; it is still good to remind ourselves that 12,000 litres of water may be good enough for 2-3 months of domestic water for an average poor family in India including the farmers or otherwise good enough for several families domestic water requirement for one that day of the protest. Simply put, the 20 litres per second of water splashed by a water cannon is equal to a person’s one week drinking water or 5-6 persons one full day intake.
So, when we are talking about the use of water cannons for long hours and regular usage by the governments around the world to suppress the rising protests of the citizens and then we are also talking about the rising water crisis, the number of people to be benefitted by that water isn’t less to me especially when even the United Nations says, ‘Every Drop Counts!’ and lays stress on achieving a water secured society through its Sustainable Development Goals where the SDG 06 is all about wise use of water for drinking and sanitation. Besides the water useful for the farming, not to forget that water cannons too have been used in agriculture at places in a different avatar for sprinkling water and fertilizers.
The state of Haryana, that exercised its powers to stop the farmers to reach Delhi, is among the most water poor states in the country. For example, a report from last year tells about alarming emergence of twelve dark zones based on depletion of ground water and its impact on farming and farmers of Haryana. So, it is better if the state government promises to use the whatever (scarce) water availability for the domestic & irrigation use of the farmers rather showering the protesting farmers in the cold winter. In addition, when the COVID-19 protection also requires more water than ever, the government instead of using water cannons to suppress the farmers protest, it may have installed water and sanitation facilities on the highways for the protesters (and otherwise for everyday travelers) so that they are able to reach Delhi safely in this COVID-19 times to discuss with the government their concerns on the Farms Acts 2020 and return to the respective farming. Alas! If this were the state of cooperation in the governance process between the government and the people, this protest would not have happened in first place.
The government of Haryana (and other states too) has serious things to do with the water as well as farmer issues for growing food for the large populace and remove poverty of the state. But, if every drop of water and every farmer do not matter to the state, then the future of farming and farmers does matter atleast to the national government which runs/eats primarily with the agro-economy. It is important to bring to the notice of the state and national governments, the SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger) and 3 (Good Health and Well-being) are far to be achieved. When India stands poor in Hunger/Food Index in the World (94 out of 107 countries including behind the neighboring countries) as in the Water Index, it is not at all intelligent to make farmers unhappy and farming difficult, more so when the farming as a profession is already shrinking in the country. India is challenged by the Future of the Farming.

From Intimidating to Interactive (Water) Governance

Since the governments around the world must find non-lethal ways of maintaining law and order, the water cannon is ironically seen as a form of collective punishment for an area or a congregation (Porter, 2011 (iii)) like the, ongoing farmer’s protest. The governments have defended the use of water cannons as soft measure to control the protest/riot context (Hawkins, 2016 (iv)) however, the use of water cannons around the world have reported injuries including death. For example, in 2004, when security forces in Thailand used it to disperse and demoralize the angry youth, it left several injured and four dead (Pathmanand, 2006 (v)). Similarly, in the Dakota Access pipeline protest, around 300 protesters were injured with the police using water cannons (Wong, 2016 (vi)).
The so called ‘less lethal’ approach of the governance of protest is defended by the governments more so since the common man is ignorant about the machine ‘water cannon’ and there is not much room for public consultation in this matter. Important to note here is that the water cannons are acquired mostly under military as a defense tool for the international border context however, historically it is regularly used under the police as a control tool in the riot/protest context. Anna Feigenbaum (2014) in Open Democracy contests the ‘less lethal’ argument of the governments by revealing a history of the use of water cannons in the case of England 2011 riot and the world which is littered with humanitarian disasters, weaponization, inadequate testing, and corporate profiteering.
The text highlights a crucial statement by one of the water cannon victims of the 2011 riot, Dietrich Wagner, who says that “Water cannons are not democratic. They are instruments of violence. They are considered much more harmless than they actually are.” Anna’s two texts in the Open Democracy also brings out some crucial aspects of this inherently dangerous machine and the governance of protest through an elaborate and emphatic details alarming the ignorance of the common people, a century of toxic humanitarianism and a need for more robust public consultation with a transparency on the economy and governance impacts of use of military weapons in the home/domestic affairs. Importantly, UK being a heavy colonizer historically is a leading exporter of the water cannons besides the USA. So, when these governments support the use of water cannons politically and financially, they implicitly endorse and encourage other countries in the violent approach to the governance of protest. India is just an exemplar here as it used the machine recently in the farmer’s protest. Other countries too are using as mentioned.
There is an important political economy to be understood on the use of the water cannons so is in the governance of the protests. That, the rising economy of water cannons and the rising conflicts between the governments and citizens, benefit only and only the corporations. Corporations complicitly support the governments and remain silent spectators to the conflicts between the governments and citizens besides enjoying the power politics in the society. Keeping the commerce and science of weaponization through corporations for another article, the rising stronghold of the governments around the world and the glorification of weaponization urges for more debates in the public domain and in the parliaments on the use of the water cannons. Discussions such as, water cannons for security versus water cannons lead to the further militarisation of police; water cannons are relatively safe versus water cannons are inherently dangerous; and many more. This becomes crucial in the current context of the increasing militarisation of police in the country as was seen during the protests over the imposition of the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens and after the imposition of the array of stringent laws on the country’s citizenry like, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA 1967 Act) during the CAA-NRC protests, and the Disaster Management Act (DM 2005 Act) during the COVID-19 lockdown.
For the peace and good governance inside a country, it is a concern that the internal use of the water cannons by the governments around the world is rising to suppress the also rising protests by the citizens against various reasons spanning from farming to fascism. The rising demand and endorsement of use of this harmful machine by the governments on the masses signal two distinct pattern of the governance of protest around the world. One, that the room for public consultation and dissent in most democracies is narrowing. Two, that there is an attempt by the governments to rule by their power than govern by the participation. In the process, though the water cannons are merely one of the tools used to disperse and demoralize citizens collectives on that moment of protest; there lies a deeper concern of dislodging the layers of the country’s constitution or citizens democratic rights including the right to protest. Unlike the voiceless rocks/stone where the machine forcefully moves the layers of sediment in the earth’s crust, the masses are bound to voice over issues that they deemed important for the protection of their rights, of the environmental issues and several other issues including the everyday governance of the citizenry despite all the measures taken by the governments to suppress the voices.
So, either the governments around the world realize that policies like the three Farms Acts discussed here (and many more in the last few years in India including in the 2020 COVID-19 time when the parliamentary meetings are not organized) when passed without much debate in the parliament and without much discussion with the people at large, will be contested in the form of protests by the people and other political parties. Or! or a government’s claim to be knowing what is better for the country and its citizens, which is a dangerous proposition and hope not true, as proclaimed by tons of articles on the rising authoritarianism in the country as well as in the world. But if so, then enactment of laws is no different than the imposition of the water cannons on the farmers in the peaceful protests in a cold winter and it is not even a matter of consideration.
In the spirit of good governance in any democracy, the spray of water is no different than spray of bullets (Noakes, 2001 (vii)). So, we need to accept that the use of water cannons on protesting citizens in a democracy is undemocratic. Period! A peaceful protest by the citizens should not be responded with a violence by the government that is chosen by the very same citizens. It is a breach of the constitutional rights of citizens and is likely to trigger further resistance by the citizens for the sake of protecting the constitution as was seen in the case of the CAA-NRC protests that was rising pan India, and only COVID-19 could bring a halt to the protests due to the non-congregation rules of the lockdown which was absolutely necessary. If for the sake of discussion, if it is assumed that the current protest by the farmers is gaining strength because of the support of the opposition political parties, then also it holds a point that policies in the country are subject to discussion and debate in the parliament prior to their resolution and/or enactment. In the absence of such things happening (currently in the disguise of COVID-19 and otherwise also), the government is expected and requested to continue meaningful dialogues with the protesting farmers community as well as the opposition parties.

Way Forward

The article looked at the water cannon as a machine and its manifestation to highlight the impact of the governance of protest in a democracy. Since, the water cannons have somehow escaped much information in the public domain in the guise of country’s security measures and the people’s faith in the country’s defense, rightfully so. However, use of such harmful machines internally on policing the citizens very much makes the machine a matter of home affairs. Therefore, the use of water cannons in the protests calls for discussions and debates in the public-scientific domain not only for the awareness of the people but also for the resistance of their usage. Not much is written about the water cannons and their use in India whereas they have been used for decades now to control protests and riots as per the government narratives and to suppress the voices of the masses as per the human rights narratives. This timely article hopes to initiate discussions on the civic (mis)use of the water cannons in protests like the ongoing farmers protest that is used as a backdrop here alongside the ongoing debates on the hardening governance of the protests through militarization of the police.
On the one hand, the governance of protest again alarms on the state of the declining democracy in the country. On the other hand, the further canonization of the political ecology and economy of the protests and military-like operations to suppress the protests in the current Farming and Farmers issues comes to the fore to remind us that India is an agrarian society, and should we wish to live so, it calls for resolutions of conflicts and cooperation between the government and the citizens. It also calls for peace otherwise including with the neighbors. Put simply, democratic processes must for resolving complex democratic problems. We must refrain from the canonization of the losing democracy and resist for it to be recognized as the New Normal for the aspiring New India.
Since the country is reeling under heavy recession; the borders issues are rising including issues in the internal state borders; the long standing communal issues are rising; the least a government can do is to keep Peace with the Local Ecosystem i.e. the Farming and the Farmers. The government may like to gain Ears to Hear the Soul of the Nation. It must find time to listen to the farmers since everyone (including the government) is dependent on the farmers for the food as well as economy. More so since (embarrassingly) farmers gets lesser on the plate than the non-farmers (including the convicts) and yet are willing to grow food for all and have taken out time to bring their concerns to the forefront of the country through the current protest. So, how the government can do that extra mile, after the three heavy Farms Acts are enacted. For example, regarding the Minimum Support Price which is one of the concerns among the protesting farmers, a simple inclusion in the Farms Acts 2020 is suggested by P Sainath seeking guaranteeing the Minimum Support Price to safeguard the rights of the farmers. Doable?
The farmers must be listened, satisfied, and requested by the government in order to return to farming and importantly they must not to be mistreated to increase distrust in the governance process. Good news is that, the government invited the farmer leaders for dialogues a few times like in November-December last year followed by a few in January-March this year. Bad news is that the dialogues between the protesting farming leaders and the various Ministries including that of the Agriculture went into the waters. The discussions resulted in inconclusive end and the government continue asking the protesting farmers bodies to come up with written objections on the Farms Acts for the next dialogue and the farmers are firm seeking repeal of the laws. The farmers plan to continue with their appeal to roll back the Farms Acts that were enacted without much participation of the people and discussion with the political parties in the parliament.
Hoping that the current protests by the farmers will come to a closure with some constructive outcomes for the farmers and the farming, one must still assume/expect that protests are here to stay. Protest is as an integral part of a living democracy, and it is a constitutional right of every citizen to participate in protest should they wish to and a duty of every government to not only respect but provide facilities to protest. Even if the protests are manufactured by the other political parties then also the government is obliged to listen, discuss and then decide since, the opposition parties are too an integral part of a democracy and as important as any ruling party in the country.
Supressing protest is unconstitutional/undemocratic, so is the use of the water cannons on the civic issues like protests. The water cannons are acquired by the governments for military activities especially for international security. Hence, using them internally for dispersing and demoralising the protesting people of the country is unlawful. Moreover, suppressing a peaceful protest is also not a solution in a democracy, rather can result in aggravating the social-political situation of the country especially in this important matter of farmers and farming. There is a strong need for the government to realise its role in establishing peace and prosperity in the country through people’s participation. When/if the people express dissent and conduct protests, it is not only the duty but in the benefit of the government to attend to the needs of the protesting people to arrive at consensus. Afterall governance is about decisions made in collectives with consensus. History too confirms through numerous cases that governments that resolved the conflicts and raised the cooperation with its citizens have performed better for the country’s socio-economic growth. With a team of scholars from around the world, I promote peace & cooperation for humanity to live sustainably and share our forthcoming edited volume book with Springer on, ‘Decolonising Conflicts, Security, Peace, Gender, Environment and Development in the Anthropocene (Spring and Brauch, 2021 (viii)).
I conclude with an urge to the Government, like many: Talk to the Farmers! Dissent is Integral, and Dialogue is the Solution in Democracy. Harness them Constitutionally! It is important to remind both the government and the people about the minimum government and maximum governance as a path for democracy using the tools provided in the Constitution. This is urgent since the country is already doing bad in the world water, farming, food, hunger, human development indices besides the governance index and those must not slip from bad to worse in any of these including the speculation on the coming water war and changing democracy. Water has a connective capacity and has been a crucial connector for cooperation between people and politics. Let us use water as connector. Let us use water as well as the cannons wisely for peace and ecology to the growth of a humanitarian society.

*Mansee Bal Bhargava is an entrepreneur, researcher, and educator, besides a keen political observer. More about her work can be learned from
i Breeding, C. and Ziegler, T.W., 2002, January. Performance of Water Cannons at Labadie. In International Joint Power Generation Conference (Vol. 36177, pp. 791-795).
ii Cooley, W.Cdcv `111., 1974. Fabrication and testing of a water cannon for rock tunneling experiments (No. FRA/ORD/D-74-38 Final Rpt.).
iii Porter, A., 2011. London riots: water cannons to be used on ‘sick society’. The Telegraph, 10.
iv Hawkins, D., 2016. Police defend use of water cannons on Dakota Access protesters in freezing weather. The Washington Post, 21.
v Pathmanand, U., 2006. Thaksin’s Achilles’ heel: The failure of hawkish approaches in the Thai south. Critical Asian Studies, 38(01), pp.73-93.
vi Wong, J.C., 2016. Dakota Access pipeline: 300 protesters injured after police use water cannons. The Guardian, 21.
vii Noakes, J., 2001. From Water Cannons to Rubber Bullets: How the Policing of Protest has changed and What it Means. The Long Term View, 5(2), pp.85-94.
viii ​Spring, U.A and Brauch, H.G. Edited. 2021. Decolonising Conflicts, Security, Peace, Gender, Environment and Development in the Anthropocene. Springer



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Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Adequate attention not paid on changing human life to realize climate change aim

By Bharat Dogra  Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It has to be checked as a matter of highest priority. Despite this adequate attention has not been given to how human life must change to realize this objective. We know that fossil fuels must be phased out and replaced by renewable energy. But is renewable energy capable of meeting the present day massive energy requirements, along with the increase taking place? Even if it is, what are the implications if renewable energy has to be scaled up to this level, and at such gigantic level won’t renewable energy also have very adverse consequences, although of a different kind? Such questions make the situation more complicated, but these have to be faced. So let us try to approach the issue in a somewhat different way. Since the daily consumption of various goods and utilities involves the use of fossil fuels in various ways, if all excessive, wasteful and harmful consumption can be given up, this will also lead

Ukraine war revitalizes silent competition between China and Russia in Central Asia

By John P. Ruehl  At the recent Commonwealth for Independent States (CIS) summit held on October 14 in Astana, Kazakhstan, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon expressed previously inconceivable remarks. His public admonishment of Russian President Vladimir Putin to treat Central Asian states with more respect showed the growing confidence of Central Asian leaders amid Russia’s embroilment in Ukraine and China’s expanding regional influence. After coming under Russian imperial rule in the 18th and 19th centuries , five Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan— emerged independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. While these countries remained heavily dependent on Russia for security, economic, and diplomatic support, China saw an opportunity in their vast resources and potential to facilitate trade across Eurasia. Chinese-backed development and commerce increased after the Soviet collapse and expanded further after the launch of China’s Belt an

Much like earlier meetings, COP 27 fails to find real solution to overcome climate crisis

By NS Venkataraman* COP 27 in Egypt was organized with much fanfare and expectations, similar to COP 26 at Glasgow that was organised in 2021. While nothing significant was achieved in combating the climate crisis subsequent to the Glasgow Meet, one thought that COP 27 would be more productive and would find some real solutions to overcome the climate crisis. Leaders and representatives from most of the countries participated in the COP 27 including the President of USA, Prime Minister of UK and so many others. Cosmetic speeches were made by the leaders, committing themselves to save the world from global warming and noxious emissions. Finally, resolutions would be adopted after representatives of all countries put their heads together . With no tangible agreement about the fundamental issues, the resolutions would inevitably end up as face saving documents. During COP 27, the UAE President clearly said that the UAE would not reduce production of crude oil and natural gas. In t

Bangladesh to import diesel from India: Win-win situation amidst economic turmoil?

Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Bangladesh and India had been sharing friendly and warm relations since 1971. Both of the countries have been kith and kin through crisis moments. Bangladesh has witnessed India’s support from the liberation war to the Covid-19 pandemic. As now the world is facing the repercussions of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war through the economic crisis and the energy crisis, India is still with Bangladesh through a cooperative framework. The government of Bangladesh had decided to cut down its fuel consumption to keep up with the global energy crisis. It was necessary to import fuel at the cheapest possible rate to mitigate the crisis. Some talks had been initiated with countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Brunei but India came forward first. The geographical proximity and the longest shared border had ushered multidimensional ways of cooperation and collaboration in many areas. The import of diesel from India through the pipeline is one of the prime example

Maldives migrants' death: Govt bodies haven't done enough for workers' safety, security

By Kirity Roy*  We have been notified by the media that a hazardous fire, which erupted in a cramped neighborhood of Maldivian capital Male, has killed 10 migrant workers including 9 Indians. We are much aggrieved by this incident, and sending our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Many are missing. Almost half the population in the Maldivian capital constitutes of migrant workers, and out of them many are Indians. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was reported by many media outlets that due to the cramped and unsuitable living conditions, the disease spread more rapidly among the foreign workers than anywhere else in the country. This brought the light upon the serious housing problem for the migrant workers in the country. The current incident shows that the Government bodies have not done enough to ensure safety and security for the workers. While the United Nations have established the rights of the Migrant workers through the International Convention on the Prot