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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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By IMPRI Team  The covid-19 pandemic has deepened the pre-existing inequalities across socio-economic groups, the distressing images of migrants’ exposure remained attached in our minds but not a lot has changed in terms of data collection and policy making since then to understand the role of equality for cohesive development. Cohesive development also means that human beings should respect the boundaries of nature which they cross at their own peril and the peril of other living beings on earth. In lieu to this, The State of Development Discourses – #CohesiveDevelopment, #IMPRI Center for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD) , #IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute , New Delhi organized #WebPolicyTalk with Prof Amiya Kumar Bagchi, on The Role of Equality for Cohesive Development. The session is inaugurated by Ms Mahima Kapoor, researcher and assistant editor at IMPRI. Ms Mahima Kapoor extended her gratitude to the speaker, moderator and the discussant. The moderator for the eve

Parallel govts: How unity of various streams of freedom movements took shape in India

By Bharat Dogra  In one of the most inspiring examples of highly courageous spontaneous actions based on the unity of people, parallel governments were formed by freedom fighters in several parts of India in the course of the Quit India Movement in 1942. Although generally four such leading efforts have been identified in Satara (Maharashtra), Talcher (Odisha), Tamluk (West Bengal) and Ballia (Uttar Pradesh), there were some other smaller efforts as well such as those in Bhagalpur (Bihar) and Gurpal (Balasore, Odisha). It is very interesting to see in most of these efforts (also very significant for understanding the freedom movement) that there was constant merging of the various streams of the freedom movement, with more militant activities openly taking place with the help of quickly mobilized militias and this being combined with various constructive programs emphasized by Mahatma Gandhi such as anti-liquor efforts and anti-untouchability movements. In addition we see actions in

West Bengal police inaction in immoral trafficking case of a Muslim woman

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, on Muslim woman victim trafficking, police inaction, and need immediate rescue: I am writing to inform you about a case of illegal trafficking and profuse police inaction regarding the same of a marginalized Muslim teenager named Anima Khatun (name changed), daughter of Mr. Osman Ali. The victim and her husband had been residents of the village Daribas, under Dinhata police station Cooch Behar district since their marriage in 2014. Six months following their marriage, Anima Khatun along with her husband, sister-in-law, sister-in-law's husband as well as her in-laws shifted to Delhi in search of work. They stayed there for 2 years after which they all came back to their native village. They stayed at their native residence for about one month and then they went back to Delhi. In Delhi, Anima was in touch with her family till the next six months, after which t

Impact of climate change on Gujarat pastoralists' traditional livelihood

By Varsha Bhagat-Ganguly, Karen Pinerio* We are sharing a study[1] based learning on climate resilience and adaptation strategies of pastoralists of Kachchh district, Gujarat. There are two objectives of the study: (i) to examine the impact of climate on traditional livelihood of pastoralists of Gujarat state; and (ii) to explore and document the adaptation strategies of pastoralists in mitigating climate adversities, with a focus on the role of women in it. In order to meet these objectives, the research inquiries focused on how pastoralists perceive climate change, how climate change has impacted their traditional livelihood, i.e., pastoralism in drylands (Krätli 2015), and how these pastoral families have evolved adaptation strategies that address climate change (CC)/ variabilities, i.e., traditional livelihood of pastoralists of Kachchh district, Gujarat state. Pastoralism is more than 5,000 years old land-use strategy in India; it is practised by nomadic (their entire livelihood r

Bangladesh sets shining example of communal peace, harmony in South Asia

By Dr. Abantika Kumari Bangladesh is made up of 160 million people who are multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual. The Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees all citizens the freedom to freely and peacefully practice their chosen religions. Religious minorities make up roughly 12% of Bangladesh's present population, according to conservative estimates . Hindus account for 10% of the population, Buddhists for 1%, Christians at 0.50 percent, and ethnic minorities for less than 1%. As an example of how people of different religions can live together, cooperate together, and simply be together, Bangladesh is regarded. Bangladesh is a country that values religious liberty, harmony, and tolerance. Bangladesh's population is made up of a diverse spectrum of religious groupings and ethnic groups. Such communities and groups live in harmony, putting aside their differences and learning to embrace and respect the diverse and diversified culture that has contributed to Bangladesh

Political leaders' actions are causing decontextualisation of democracy

By Harasankar Adhikari In India, does democracy become a matter of prescription, i.e., to follow the footpath left? Isn't it, in some ways, the adoption of certain prescribed procedures and mechanisms, such as timely election and populist schemes for the poor, etc.? In some cases, acts of government and governance turn democracy into a myth. It is full of political party-based agendas. This continuous hegemonic practise creates a conditional situation for the people of India. People elect their representatives who are not their representatives. They are only representatives of a particular political party that nominated them in the election. Democratic decentralisation of power is undoubtedly a unique step towards the grass roots. But a Panchayat member has no free will to act without the party’s instruction and approval. Michael Saward, a political philosopher, defines democracy as a matter of correspondence in state-society relationships. But India’s parliamentary democracy is un