The ‘lathi’: India’s colonial vintage anti-protest weapon

As Indian protests against a new citizenship law have intensified, so has police use of “lathis”, sturdy sticks used to whack, thwack and quell dissent since British colonial times — to sometimes deadly effect. At least 27 people have died in the past two weeks of protests, mostly from bullets, but hundreds more have been injured in clashes between demonstrators and riot police wielding the bamboo canes. “From being used as means to regulate crowds, lathi has turned into a lethal weapon,” said V. Suresh, the secretary general of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a non-profit rights group.

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