If you thought the police are but mute spectators of large religious gatherings and seem deliberately blind to traffic violations when kanwariyas and Shab-e-Baraat processions take to the streets. Think again.
The Delhi Traffic Police used basic technology to confront, and are in the process of punishing, the ‘religious fervour bordering on lawlessness’ that the national Capital’s streets infamously fall prey to every year when two major community events coincide.
More than 4,000 bikers have been issued notices — personally signed by Delhi’s traffic police boss before being hand-delivered by the violators’ local traffic police representative.
They were penalised for traffic violations which they were caught committing red-handed during the month of sawan and between early June and late July.
What did the trick were straight-faced traffic policemen subtly armed with small, hand-held digital cameras capable of capturing high-definition videos deployed at major transit points. This helped the police maintain smooth traffic flow while recording the violators’ acts for action later.
“Around 2,120 notices were issued against traffic violations in the run-up to, and on, Shab-e-Baraat and 2,091 were issued for violations by kanwarias,” Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic) told HT.
These, the traffic police said, were in addition to 1,244 on-the-spot Rs. 100 fines for offences related to the former and 58 such fines issued related to the latter.
The most common traffic violation observed during the exercise was riding a two-wheeler without a helmet followed by triple-riding, according to the traffic police.
“The notices issued will be served on the violators in person and, by law, get converted into on-the-spot-fines and realised in the same way — that is through a `100 fine — immediately,” said special commissioner Chander.
“Deterrence is the key word to describe the exercise and the message we want to convey is that committing a traffic violation will land you in trouble — if not sooner, then later,” Chander added.
So far, the traffic police have collected a consolidated amount of Rs. 1,30,200 in fines from violators falling in both categories.
Around an additional Rs. 4,21,100 will be added to this from realised notices.
The traffic police had also taken note of an HT report which had highlighted unabashed flouting of traffic rules during a rally by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the then Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit in September last year. Referring to the action in the incident, Chander said similar prosecution of political activists would follow at political gatherings.
“Depending on the need, pictures and videos of violations will be used to fine political leaders and activists leading or taking part in political gatherings too,” Chander said.