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Public Order in India: An Empirical Study

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 25 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2009 Pages: 148-169
T.K. Vinod Kumar
Date Published
May 2009
22 pages
After analyzing public order and social control of disorder in the context of public events that occurred in a city in India over the course of a year, a classification system for public events and for quantifying disorder is proposed.
The study found that varying levels of violence reflected distinct levels of disorder associated with different types of public events. Thus far, data analysis indicates that most social-cultural and election-related events were without violence; however, there were increasing levels of violence associated with labor, political, government administrative, student-related, communal, and other events. Violent incidents included damage to property and injuries to individuals. These findings validate the robustness of the classification of different types of events and distinctive levels of violence and disorder related to each type of event. This has implications for the deployment of resources to prevent and control public disorder, particularly violence. By identifying each public event in terms of its characteristics and associated historic patterns of public disorder, various appropriate levels of government and police control can be matched to the risk for disorder. Further research is required in order to assess appropriate responses to various types of events, such as levels of intervention by the police, the degree of force used, the manner of application of law, and arrest policies and procedures. This study covered all public events recorded by the police in a city in the southern State of Kerala in India from June 2003 to May 2004. The study analyzed 2,178 public events in terms of the individuals and organizations involved, event location, number of participants, time period, structure of the event, occurrence and severity of violence, and other details. Characteristics of any intervention to maintain order were also identified. 7 tables, 2 figures, and 24 references