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Public events, police response and democratic discourse in India---an empirical study

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Vinod Kumar Thichempully Krishnadas
Abstract:
Maintenance of public order is a primary function of the state. Since early 19th century police have emerged as the principal agent of order maintenance. There have been studies of police work of order maintenance in Western societies. However there have been few studies of public order events and police order maintenance in non-Western societies. This dissertation is an empirical study of public events and police response in a city in India. The purpose of this study is to understand the different types of public events, how the police proactively and reactively respond to them, and to place the interaction in the context of democratic functioning in India. This study measures public order events by quantifying its various facets. Through analysis of a large number of public order incidents and police responses, the study spells out the relationships between events and police responses. These findings are then placed in the context of democracy in India. As research questions this is stated as- What are the types and nature of public order incidents? How do the police respond to public order incidents, and what is the relationship between the event and response? How do the event-response dynamics elucidate the larger democratic discourse in India? The research questions have been addressed through a mixed method research design utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative analysis has been conducted through statistical analysis of all public order events and police responses that occurred during the period of a year in one city. Qualitative analysis has been done through case studies of major public order events that occurred in the city. This mixed method research design has the benefit of providing an overview of the larger trends in the population under study through quantitative analysis, and a detailed and in-depth view of the phenomena through qualitative study. Public events in India have diverse nature. The characteristics of an event have an impact on the police response. Of the different characteristics the degree of violence in the incident has the greatest impact on police response. Moreover the response of the police is sequential and the earlier steps taken by the police have an impact on their subsequent actions. While the event response dynamics in general reflect the nature of democracy, it also has an influence on the democratic discourse.

Table of Contents

Page Acknowledgments iv Abstract v Table of Contents vii List of tables x List of figures xvi Chapters 1. Introduction 1 2. Literature review 10 Characteristics of public disorder 14 Police response to public disorder 25 3. Research design 32 Data and methods 38 Quantitative analysis 40 Data coding 42 Analysis 42 Validity and reliability of study 50 Qualitative analysis 59 Data and Analyses 60 Corroborative analysis and validation plan 62 4. Nature of public events 65 Types of events 67

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Structure of events 88 Levels of violence 112 Temporal distribution of events 118 5. Police response to public events 127 Public order policing in the city 128 Empirical assessment of field level response 140 Impact of nature of event on police intervention 145 Impact of nature of event on use of force by police 157 Registration of crime cases by police in response to event 165 Police decision to conduct arrest 170 Conclusions 179 6. Communal violence- a case study 180 Administrative response to communal riots 182 The area of conflict 184 History of communal conflict 191 Communal events of 2003 192 Response to the event 197 Intensive policing 210 Situational conflict prevention mechanisms 215 Peacemaking 225 Combined impact of response on communal events 227 7. Qualitative analysis of political violence 232 Event 1 233 Event 2 237

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Event 3 241 Analysis 247 8. Statistical Model of Relationship between Public Event and Police Response 259 Relationship between characteristics of public events and police decision of intervention 260 Police decision to use force 275 A sequential model on police intervention and use of force 288 Police decision to register crime case 296 Police decision to conduct arrest 305 Conclusions 314 9. Comprehensive model of relationship between event characteristics and police response using structural equation modeling 315 10. Public events and democratic discourse 332 Event response dynamics 335 Public events police response and democracy 339 Conclusions 354 Appendix A: Data entry protocol 358 References 363

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Tables Page Table 3.1. Detailed classes and subclasses of events according to underlying reason 43

Table 3.2. Other variables reflecting nature of event. 44 Table 3.3. Variables reflecting nature of police response. 47 Table 3.4 Correlation between severity of violence in event and whether crime case is registered or not and whether arrests are conducted or not. 53

Table 3.5 Inter rater reliability test coefficients 57 Table 4.1. Frequency distribution of type of events. 67 Table 4.2. Frequency distribution of subclass of social cultural events. 71

Table 4.3. Frequency distribution of subclass of government related events 73

Table 4.4 Frequency distribution of labor related events. 77 Table 4.5. Frequency distribution of student related events. 80 Table 4.6. Political party wise frequency distribution of political events. 81 Table 4.7. Frequency distribution of subclasses of communal events 86 Table 4.8. Frequency distribution of events according to its structure. 89 Table 4.9. Cross tabulation of type of incident and events associated with posters/graffiti 92

Table 4.10. Cross tabulation of type of incident and events structured as ‘visits’. 93 Table 4.11. Cross tabulation of type of incident and events structured as public meetings. 95

Table 4.12. Cross tabulation of type of incident and events structured as demonstrations. 99

Table 4.13. Cross tabulation of severity of violence and events structured as demonstrations. 100

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Table 4.14. Cross tabulation of type of incident and events structured as dharna. 102 Table 4.15.Cross tabulation of severity of violence and events structured as dharna. 103

Table 4.16. Cross tabulation of severity of violence and strike incidents. 105 Table 4.17.Cross tabulation of type of incident and events structured as picketing. 106

Table 4.18.Cross tabulation of levels of violence and events structured as picketing. 107

Table 4.19. Cross tabulation of types of events and events structured as hartals. 108 Table 4.20. Cross tabulation of levels of violence and events structured as hartals. 109 Table 4.21.Cross tabulation of types of incidents and events structured as violence. 111

Table 4.22. Cross tabulation of types of incidents and events categorized as ‘other’. 112

Table 4.23. Distribution of levels of violence across public events. 112 Table 4.24. Distribution of level of severity of threat of violence across types of incidents. 115

Table 4.25. Distribution of events leading to damage to property across types of incidents. 116 Table 4.26. Distribution of events leading to injury to individual across different types of public events. 117 Table 4.27. Distribution of events leading to damage to property and injury to individual across different types of public events. 117 Table 4.28. Distribution of events across days of the week 124 Table 5.1. Distribution of types of police action in response to public events. 144 Table 5.2 Cross tabulation of type of event and police response 146 Table 5.3 Chi-Square test results on relationship between type of event and police response. 146

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Table 5.4. Distribution of levels of violence across types of events. 148 Table 5.5 Chi-Square test results on relationship between type of event and severity of violence. 148 Table 5.6 Correlation between severity of violence in event and police response. 150 Table 5.7 Cross tabulation between levels of severity of violence in event and police response. 150

Table 5.8 Distribution of events in which police did not intervene despite higher levels of violence 151

Table 5.9 Cross tabulation between police action and structure of event. 155 Table 5.10 Chi square test results between structure of event and police action. 155 Table 5.11 Correlation between total number of participants in event and police action. 156

Table 5.12 Correlation between total time taken for event and police action. 157 Table 5.13 Distribution of use of force by police. 161 Table 5.14 Cross tabulation of police action in response to events and type of force used. 161

Table 5.15 Chi-square statistic of the relation between type of event and degree of force used. 162

Table 5.16 Chi-square statistic of the relation between structure of event and degree of force used. 162

Table 5.17 Cross tabulation between severity of violence in event and degree of force used. 164

Table 5.18 Correlation between severity of violence in event and type of force used. 165

Table 5.19 Distribution of whether crime case was registered or not in an event. 166 Table5.20 Correlation between severity of violence in event and whether crime case registered or not. 166

Table 5.21 Correlation between whether crime case was registered or not,

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total time of event, and the number of participants. 167

Table 5.22 Cross tabulation of police decision to register case and levels of police intervention. 168

Table 5.23 Correlation between police action in event and whether crime case is registered or not. 168

Table 5.24 Distribution of events where crime cases are not registered despite occurrence of events where there is higher severity of violence and violation of law. 169

Table 5.25 Cross tabulation of police decision to register case and decision to conduct arrest. 171

Table 5.26 Cross tabulation of type of events and decision to conduct arrest. 172

Table 5.27 Chi-square statistic for relation between type of events and decision to conduct arrest. 172

Table 5.28 Cross tabulation of subtypes of labor related events and decision to conduct arrest. 175

Table 5.29 Cross tabulation of severity of violence in event and decision to conduct arrest. 177

Table 6.1 Comparison of demographic indices in the city and village 185 Table 6.2 Major communal events that occurred in the conflict area during the last fifty years. 192

Table 6.3 Tabular representation of institutional conflict prevention mechanisms employed in the area. 224

Table 6.4 Regression model explaining levels of conflict in the area. 229 Table 8.1. Distribution of dependent variable of levels of intervention. 262 Table 8.2 Detailed classification of categorical variables. 263 Table 8.3 Step wise summary of model parameters. 264 Table 8.4 Summary of logistic regression predicting levels of police intervention. 265 Table 8.5 Distribution of dependent variable of type of force used by police. 276

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Table 8.6 Step wise summary of model parameters. 277 Table 8.7 Summary of logistic regression predicting police decision to use force. 278 Table 8.8 Step wise summary of model parameters of sequential model of police intervention and use of force. 289

Table 8.9 Summary of logistic regression predicting police decision to use force in sequential model of police intervention and use of force. 289

Table 8.10 Distribution of dependent variable of decision of whether crime case was registered or not. 296

Table 8.11 Summary of model parameters for decision of registration of crime case. 297

Table8.12 Summary of logistic regression predicting decision to register case or not. 298 Table 8.13 Distribution of dependent variable whether arrests were made or not. 306 Table 8.14 Step wise summary of model parameters for decision of conduct of arrest. 307

Table 8.15 Summary of logistic regression predicting decision to conduct arrest. 307 Table 9.1 Comparison through incremental fit indices 320

Table 9.2 Regression Weights of relation of measured variables and latent variables. 321

Table 9.3 Standardized Regression Weights of relation between measured and latent variables. 322

Table 9.4 Covariance between predictor and latent variables. 322 Table 9.5. Correlation between characteristics of violence and nature of event. 322 Table 9.6 Squared Multiple Correlations indicating the proportion of the variance in the dependent variable accounted by predictor variable. 323

Table9.7 Baseline Comparisons through incremental fit indices in second model. 325

Table 9.8 Regression Weights of relation between measured and latent variables in second model. 326

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Table 9.9 Standardized Regression Weights of relation between measured and latent variables in second model. 326

Table 9.10 Squared Multiple Correlations indicating the proportion of the variance in the dependent variable accounted by predictor variable. 328

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Figures Page Figure 2.1. A thematic representation of public protest in India (Adapted from Bayley ,1969, p.256.) 19

Figure 3.1. Concurrent Triangulation Strategy- a mixed methods procedure (Adapted from Creswell, 2003, p.214) 34

Figure 3.2 Organizational chart of the City Police 40 Figure 3.3.Graphic representation of relationship between characteristics of public events and police response examined. 49

Figure 4.1 Distribution of type of public order events 68 Figure 4.2 Error bar graph representing variation in severity of violence 82 Figure 4.3 Error graph representing variation in severity of violence across subclasses. 87

Figure 4.4 Distribution of public events according to structure of event. 90

Figure 4.5. Distribution of levels of violence across public events. 113 Figure 4.6 Distribution of starting time of public events. 119 Figure 4.7. Distribution of ending time of public events. 121 Figure 4.8. Distribution of time duration of public events. 123 Figure 4.9 Distribution of events across days of week. 125 Figure 5.1. Diagrammatic representation of the two systems of administrative response by police to public order events. 129

Figure 5.2 Distribution of public events according to whether police had prior knowledge of events. 133

Figure 5.3. Distribution of police action in response to public events. 145 Figure 5.4 Variation in police action across levels of severity of violence. 149 Figure 6.1 Map of conflict area: Houses of Hindus are marked in orange and

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those of Muslims in green. 187

Figure 6.2 Deployment of police personnel during 2002-03. 198 Figure 6.3 Deployment of police personnel during 2003-04 and different phases of response. 202

Figure 6.4 Levels of Peace making during 2003-04 206 Figure 6.5 Levels of conflict during 2003-04 206 Figure 6.6 Opportunity structure of occurrence of ethnic conflict in the area. (Adapted from Clarke, 1995) 219

Figure 8.1.Diagram representing how characteristics of events impact police decision to intervene in event. 275

Figure 8.2. Diagrammatic representation of how characteristics of event impact police decision to use force. 287

Figure 8.3. Flow chart of impact of characteristics of event and police intervention on use of force 294

Figure 8.4 Line diagram representing logistic regression coefficients on outcome of police decision to use force. 295

Figure 8.5 Diagram representing factors impacting decision to register crime case. 304 Figure 8.6 Diagram representing factors impacting decision to conduct arrest. 313 Figure 9.1 Regression model with latent variables predicting police response. 324 Figure 9.2 Regression model with latent variable of total event characteristics predicting police response. 327

Figure 10.1 Simplified model of relationship between nature of event, characteristics of event and police response. 338

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Chapter 1: Introduction Maintenance of order is an important function of the state. “By ‘order’ is meant the absence of disorder, and by disorder is meant behavior that either disturbs or threatens to disturb the public peace or that involves face to face conflict among two or more persons” (Wilson, 1968, p.16). Widespread disorder disturbs civil discourse in society. It also creates a social environment conducive for the growth of crime. Failure of the government to maintain order results in reduction in legitimacy of the government, the system and the state. Awareness of these problems has led to order maintenance being a central function of a democratic state, and emergence of police as an important organ of government. Since early 19 th century police have emerged as the principal agent of order maintenance for the state (Reith, 1938). The three main functions of police are crime control, order maintenance, and service (Wilson, 1968). Despite equal importance of the three functions in defining police work, the image of police in the popular mind is formed by the tasks of order maintenance and crime control. This is reflected in Banton’s (1964) recognition of “law officers” and “peace officers” and Bittner (1967) distinguishing the functions of “law enforcement” and “keeping the peace”. Notwithstanding these separations any study of either of these functions must recognize that there are commonalities and overlap between the two functions. This general framework of police work, despite basic similarities, has variations across societies. This can be traced to historical, political, social cultural, and legal administrative factors. These commonalities and variation have been studied extensively in Western societies, at different levels of towns, counties, states, and countries (Wilson, 1968; Burton et al, 1993; Langworthy, 1985). However there have been very few such empirical studies in non Western

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societies. Though Indian police have been sparsely researched, existing studies (Bayley, 1969; Dhillon, 2003; Verma, 2005) provide insight into the functioning of Indian police and provide a basis for further research. Bayley (1969) forms an important starting point for research on Indian criminal justice system. Though Bayley’s (1969) work is path breaking and is still very relevant, the great changes that have taken place in Indian society and state over the last four decades cannot be ignored. Dhillon’s (2003) work, which is more descriptive than analytical, describes the administrative structure of police in post independence period and enumerates challenges and changes witnessed during this period. Despite the distinctive characteristics of Indian society, and unique problems faced by the criminal justice system, there are few comprehensive studies based on large empirical datasets. In view of the state of research on criminal justice system and policing in India there is a great need and scope for detailed studies. Empirical studies will be of use in testing and assessing existing explanations, especially keeping in view the heterogeneous nature of the country and diversity in the functioning of administrative systems. Such studies will aid in identifying commonalities and differences in functioning of police in India and other societies. It will also assist in understanding the applicability of theories developed in Western societies in the Indian context, and develop new theories applicable to similar diverse multicultural societies. This dissertation is an empirical study of public order incidents in a city in India. The purpose of this study is to understand the nature of different types of public order incidents that occurred in the city, how the district police proactively and reactively responded to them, and to place this interaction in the context of democratic discourse in India. As research questions this is stated as what are the types and nature of public order incidents in the area under study? How do

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police respond to public order incidents, and what is the relationship between event and response? How do the event-response dynamics elucidate the larger democratic discourse in India? The stated research questions will be addressed through a close examination of all observed public events during a period of one year in a city, classifying the events according to their characteristics, and analyzing the relationship between different types of events and police responses. Public order events are analyzed to explain the basic characteristics of events and the underlying reasons for their occurrence. Which individuals and organizations are involved in the events? Is the disorder due to religious conflict, political differences, labor dispute, student unrest or any other reason? Characteristics of the event such as the number of participants, the level of violence involved, duration, and location of event provide a detailed picture of the event. On the basis of this classification, the frequency of its occurrence, the spatial and temporal distribution of the events, and other aspects are analyzed for relationships between different characteristics of events, locations, individuals and organizations involved. The response of the police is evaluated across different types, structures and other characteristics of events. Different aspects of the response of the police are examined, and are analyzed to determine the factors that influence the nature of police response. How do law, organizational factors, magnitude and characteristics of the event and other situational factors influence the response? Do the police use instrumental models of policing resorting to use of force and/or sanctions (Nagin, 1998), and certainty and severity of punishment, or do they depend on cooperation and legitimacy (Tyler, 2004)? Are there any other extraneous factors

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impacting police response? This thesis explores the relationship between the event and police response and the degree of influence police have on public order in the city. The response of the police and thereby that of the state is circumscribed by democratic norms and rule of law. These boundaries are recognized and assimilated in the strategies of both the police and the agitators. These factors weigh upon police actions due to legal imperatives, watchful media, an informed society, and an assertive judiciary. It is explored how in the police response, law, human rights, and legitimacy of police, government and state are acknowledged or ignored. The study will also address how the agitators respect or transgress these boundaries. The relationship between public events and police response is analyzed, and this forms the basis for comparing with established norms of democracy, and commenting on the democratic discourse in India. This dissertation explores these aspects through the study of all order maintenance problems occurring and recorded by police in a district in South India. These events are analyzed through a mixed methods research design, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods. For this analysis daily record of public order events, video recordings of events, transcripts of conversation and speeches, media reports, records of deployment of personnel, court records, and demographic data have been utilized. All events perceived by police as public order related have been statistically coded to reflect features such as type of event, organizations involved, number of people involved, location of event, duration etc, and analyzed for patterns and relationships. This method of analysis has the benefit of wide coverage of events and aggregate level analysis of relationships between the events and other variables. As a part of the qualitative analysis case studies of major public order events that occurred in the district have been conducted. It focuses

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on the sequence of events, actions of participants in public order events, and the response of police. The case study approach with its emphasis of depth over breadth provides a framework for exploring theoretical explanations of conflict, disorder and police response. On the basis of the quantitative and qualitative analyses of events and police response, the relationships between them are studied and modeled using multivariate statistical techniques. As there are simultaneous and multiple relationships between the variables, Structural Equation Modeling is conducted to obtain a holistic model of the events response dynamics. This thesis is organized in the following manner: Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the dissertation and outlines the background of the study. It spells out the purpose of the study and states the research questions. This chapter also enumerates how the thesis is organized. In Chapter 2 a review of literature on public disorder and its impact on society is done. Existing studies have focused on different aspects of the problem of public disorder, with some studies focusing on day to day public disorder such as pan handling and drunken misbehavior, and others focusing on large scale protests, riots and public violence. To comprehensively cover different facets of public disorder, relevant literature exploring diverse types of public events have been examined. As most of these studies have been conducted in the western context, they have their limitations in providing theoretical basis for explaining and interpreting events in India. To overcome these limitations and to provide proper context for the study, available literature on public order events related to India is also reviewed. This includes studies on subjects ranging

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from random violence in public places, disorderly public meetings, to communal violence. Public events and police response in the city are analyzed in the context of the existing literature. Chapter 3 explains the research design and rationale of the methodology adopted. This study is conducted using a mixed methods research. The quantitative study of all events that occurred during the year provides the basis for analysis of events and to model the relationship between events and police response. This large N study provides an overarching view and trends in relationships between various facets of the events and police response. The qualitative analysis on the other hand is conducted through case studies of violence associated with political protests and communal violence. The qualitative analysis provides an in depth look into the dynamics of the interaction. The findings of the qualitative and quantitative interactions are integrated during the interpretation phase. These conclusions are placed in the context of democracy in India. In Chapter 4 the nature of public order events is explored. After conducting an overview of public order events, a classification system of various characteristics of public events such as type of event, structure of event, and levels of violence associated with these events is proposed. On the basis of this relationship between various characteristics and other variables such as temporal and spatial factors, the nature of public events is elucidated. Chapter 5 provides a comprehensive view of how police respond to public events. This chapter explains the organizational mechanism of the police for addressing public order problems, and the legal measures available with the police to prevent and control public disorder. Thereafter an empirical assessment of the field level police response to public events is conducted. Various aspects of police response such as type of response, levels of force used,

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registration of crime cases, and conduct of arrests are analyzed. This forms the basis for a preliminary assessment of the impact of nature of public events on police response. In Chapter 6 a case study of a communal incident is conducted. Analysis of the background of the event, the event itself, and the police response to the event is done. The police response is analyzed in the context of theories of situational crime prevention, peacemaking, and intensive policing, and the impact of these responses is assessed. Chapter 7 is a qualitative study of incidents of violence in political public events. Three public political events with varying degrees of violence are examined. On the basis of qualitative assessment of the event and police response, the relationship between the event and response and the impact of the events on the functioning on the police are studied. In Chapter 8, on the basis of the analysis and findings using quantitative and qualitative techniques, a statistical model to explain the phenomena is proposed. In the initial phase logistic regression is used to explain the relationship between the nature of events and police response. Thereafter in Chapter 9 Structural Equation Modeling is used to model the simultaneous multiple relationships between different variables. In Chapter 10 the findings from the quantitative and qualitative analyses are placed in the context of norms expected in a democratic society, and norms of democratic policing. This chapter addresses how the event-response dynamics influence and explain the larger democratic discourse. This concluding chapter spells out the major findings from the study and recommends steps for improvement.

Full document contains 393 pages
Abstract: Maintenance of public order is a primary function of the state. Since early 19th century police have emerged as the principal agent of order maintenance. There have been studies of police work of order maintenance in Western societies. However there have been few studies of public order events and police order maintenance in non-Western societies. This dissertation is an empirical study of public events and police response in a city in India. The purpose of this study is to understand the different types of public events, how the police proactively and reactively respond to them, and to place the interaction in the context of democratic functioning in India. This study measures public order events by quantifying its various facets. Through analysis of a large number of public order incidents and police responses, the study spells out the relationships between events and police responses. These findings are then placed in the context of democracy in India. As research questions this is stated as- What are the types and nature of public order incidents? How do the police respond to public order incidents, and what is the relationship between the event and response? How do the event-response dynamics elucidate the larger democratic discourse in India? The research questions have been addressed through a mixed method research design utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative analysis has been conducted through statistical analysis of all public order events and police responses that occurred during the period of a year in one city. Qualitative analysis has been done through case studies of major public order events that occurred in the city. This mixed method research design has the benefit of providing an overview of the larger trends in the population under study through quantitative analysis, and a detailed and in-depth view of the phenomena through qualitative study. Public events in India have diverse nature. The characteristics of an event have an impact on the police response. Of the different characteristics the degree of violence in the incident has the greatest impact on police response. Moreover the response of the police is sequential and the earlier steps taken by the police have an impact on their subsequent actions. While the event response dynamics in general reflect the nature of democracy, it also has an influence on the democratic discourse.