Coloured water cannons to take on protesters

F Ahmed

Srinagar, May 10:

Moving away from batons and bullets, the police today introduced cannons that spray coloured water on mobs and leave the stain on clothes as “criminal” evidence.

The first to face this new weapon against violent demonstrations were hundreds of local traders who staged a protest against value added tax (VAT) in the state.

Police turned the cannons on as the group marched, shouting slogans against the Mufti Muhammad Sayeed government.

“The cannon throws water of various colours at the protesters. It is not easy to remove the stains from the clothes,” said a senior police officer, laying down the advantages of the new weapon. “There is no chance of protesters’ death unless there is a subsequent stampede. And once the colours stain the clothes, they cannot claim they didn’t participate in the demonstration,” he said.

Police had to think of the cannons as unruly mobs on streets have become a daily routine here. “Under section 144 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC), an assembly of five or more people is unlawful. Thus dealing with protests is something the local police have to live with,” another police officer said.