There is very little to compare the situations in the UK and India. But the recent London riots and their eventual control by authorities do hold lessons for this country, which has recently seen the brutal eviction of Ramdev's peaceful followers from Ram Lila Maidan, and the death of four Pune farmers in police firing on Tuesday. It is true that the London violence was triggered off by the death of a local criminal and drug dealer in a police shoot-out. That the riots got out of control and spread to other parts of the UK is another story. They have much to do with David Cameron's economic policies that have increased the size of the underclass and saturated it with anger and infused it with a sense of victimhood. The police action to control the riots, the worst in more than three decades, was milder than expected. There had been demands that water cannons be used. People were also urging that police officers be allowed to employ their weapons. These were not simply lay voices making these demands. Retired police officers and administrators with police or military backgrounds were urging these things. At one point, when the rioting was at its peak, the government did seem to have thoughts about going tough on arsonists and looters. Cameron says in future water cannons may be used and perhaps plastic bullets. But during the riots, the government held back. And the home secretary, Theresa May, came out with a remarkable statement. "The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannons," she said. "The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities." Which is why, after the London riots, you hear of large-scale arrests, but no deaths in police attacks. Since the rioters were young, the youngest of them to be booked being just ten, the home secretary also asked parents to get more responsible. "…parents," she said, "need to be asking themselves where were their children, what were their children doing in the evening? There are longer-term questions about when we see parents letting their children as young as that sort of age be out on the streets in this way." Now this is the UK home secretary being conciliatory after the riots. This is called political judgment. By that token, is there any explanation or justification for the attack on Ramdev's satyagrahis after midnight? Why were his followers teargassed and lathi-charged when they were sleeping in their camp? Of those attacked is a woman who has been crippled and remains critically ill. And then take the police firing on Pune farmers, four of who were killed, including a woman. They were protesting the acquisition of their land for a project of Sharad Pawar's thuggish nephew, Ajit Pawar. Predictably, Parliament has gone up in uproar, but in a matter of days, the incident will be forgotten, until another police firing makes headlines. Why is the state getting more brutal? The state has always been brutal, but it is getting more visibly so. The farmers' uprising against forced acquisition of land in various parts of the country has a broad similarity with the rise of Maoism against rapacious mining in tribal homelands. The state's response to both risings is to crush them with an iron hand. And against challenges set by the rise of anti-corruption crusaders like Anna Hazare, the state threatens violence as well. Indeed, the lathi-charge on BJP workers yesterday protesting near Parliament could have been meant to send a message to Anna Hazare if he persists with his 16 August fast. Obviously, this brutalization of the state has to be resisted. The state forgets the fundamental principal of policing, which is that brutality begets brutality, something the British government consciously avoided after the London riots. Certainly for the use of water cannons, lathi-charge and teargas to be outlawed, say, for starters, within the territory of Delhi, it will need all-party political consensus. Let steps be taken in that direction. And if Delhi succeeds, the experiment can be replicated elsewhere. As said in the beginning, India is not the UK. But both are democracies. Police high-handedness is incompatible with a democracy.