Delhi Police Intervenes After Cops in Shahdara Obtain Metal Batons

Each police station reportedly distributed iron batons to its personnel “as an experiment” after cops were reportedly injured during clashes with protesters on January 26.

New Delhi: Senior Delhi police officials have asked the Shahdara district police to reverse their decision to distribute 60 metal batons to police personnel as anti-riot equipment and have directed them to wait for approval from police headquarters, reported the Indian Express.

Sixty sword-like metal batons were reportedly distributed in Shahdara district to police officials on Monday for protection from rioters armed with swords. “The decision to use the metal baton was taken after many security personnel were injured by protesters armed with swords during their recent clashes with the police,” a senior police officer said.

The move was authorised by station house officers (SHOs) of all 11 police stations under the jurisdiction of Shahdara district and each police station distributed around 12 iron batons to its personnel “as an experiment” after police personnel were injured during clashes with protesters who carried swords during the tractor rally.

“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,” an officer said.

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Another senior police officer told The Hindu, that “the aim is to protect our personnel from attacks by any sword or sharp-edged weapons. It is for their self defence. This initiative was taken by SHOs of the respective police stations of Shahdara district”

The station house officer at Alipur police station, who had been posted at the Singhu Border, sustained injuries to his left hand after a protester allegedly attacked him with a sword on Friday.

After pictures of police officials holding metal batons drew sharp criticism on social media, senior police officers at the Delhi headquarters directed them to withdraw the decision and take approval before distributing them.

“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 said.

“The decision to use these batons was taken by the Shahdara district police and now they have been asked by the PHQ to explain the reason for procuring them,” an officer said.