The Shahdra district police on Monday had distributed 60 metal batons to police personal as an anti-riot equipment. The move was explained by the officials as an experiment, for the “protection from rioters armed with swords” after police personal were injured during clashes with protesters who carried swords during the Republic Day rally.
The move was authorized by station house officers of 11 police stations under the jurisdiction of Shahdra district and each police station distributed 12 batons to its personal.
A senior police officer told The Wire that, “It’s a makeshift arrangement to minimize injury in case of a sword attack. It is not an aggressive but defensive mechanism. The baton is 4-5 feet long and has a metallic arm guard that protects the person holding it against the attack by a sword.” Another police official reportedly said that the initiative was taken by the “SHOS of the respective police stations of Shahdra district.”
The pictures of the police officials lining up, holding metal batons drew sharp criticism after which the Delhi police has intervened and asked the Shahdra Police to reverse the decision. “As soon as senior officers found out, these were taken back. There is no scheme to provide policemen with steel lathis”, a Delhi Police spokesman has told The Wire.
A police officer who had been posted at the Singhu border on Friday, was allegedly attacked by a protestor with a sword. He sustained injuries to his left hand.