Delhi Cops’ Use of Tear Gas In Jamia May Have Violated UN Guidance

UN guidance states that tear gas should not be used in confined spaces.

Published
India
2 min read
Policeman firing a tear gas canister near Jamia Millia Islamia university.
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Delhi Police’s use of tear gas canisters inside Jamia Millia Islamia university’s campus may have been in violation of the United Nations’ guidance on the use of chemical irritants.

The latest edition of the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement states, “In general, chemical irritants should not be used in confined spaces, such as prison cells, where there is no viable exit or adequate ventilation, owing to the risk of death or serious injury from asphyxiation.”

Article 7.3.7 illustrates that chemical irritants should not be used indoors.
Article 7.3.7 illustrates that chemical irritants should not be used indoors.
(Photo: Screengrab)
An FIR filed by the police confirms that the force entered campus during violence at the University and used 75 tear gas shells “to disperse the mob”, ANI reported. Reports indicate that some shells were also fired inside the library.

The guidance also states that irritant projectiles should not be fired directly at a person, especially the head and face, since it may cause death or serious injury from impact trauma.

However, protesters were allegedly injured due to direct contact with tear gas shells fired by the police.

NYT Journalist Criticises Police Crackdown at Jamia

A New York Times journalist criticised the police crackdown on Jamia Millia Islamia university students protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying it is against the United Nations’ guidance.

“UN guidance states that tear gas should not be used in confined spaces, and human rights groups are calling for an investigation into possible excessive force,” NYT’s Haley Willis wrote on Twitter.

She also put up a video which shows “officers beating unarmed protesters and firing tear gas inside a university library.”

Delhi Police on 15 December had entered the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia university without permission and reportedly beat up students and staff.

The Delhi police on Tuesday evening named three Jamia students in the unrest on 15 December and booked them under IPC provisions for rioting and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

(With inputs from ANI)

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