If you can’t force them, you coax them. And maybe throw in a red rose for good measure.
That seemed to be the credo of the railway police who were seen handing out roses to people crossing railway tracks at Wadala station on Saturday.
The unique method, possibly inspired by the Sanjay Dutt-starrer Munnabhai MBBS, is part of a drive to educate people of the dangers of crossing tracks.
“I’m touched by this gesture,” said Thane-based businessman Anup Kher who was caught during the drive.
Kher said he had been caught crossing tracks earlier, but he got away by coughing up a penalty or bribing constables.
“Henceforth, I will use the foot overbridges to cross,” he said, making little effort to conceal his embarrassment.
Several others crossing the tracks were in for a surprise as men and women in khaki walked up to them, hands stretched, a rose in hand.
“Sir/ Madam, take this rose for illegally crossing tracks,” was their constant refrain.
At one end of the station, a constable explained to them the perils of crossing tracks. “You could lose your life or get crippled.”
Family members of a few people were informed telephonically, especially in the case of child offenders.
“But we soon did away with the idea as people tend to get jittery on getting a call from the police,” said Police Sub-Inspector TN Bangar of the Railway Police Force at Wadala.
The drive, which began in the morning, continued till early afternoon.
“Most of the offenders were stunned. Almost all of them touched by the gesture,” said Bangar.
Bangar said most of the offenders promised never to cross railway tracks again.
On Saturday, 134 offenders — including office-goers, students and professionals — were found crossing the tracks on Saturday.
The railway police had conducted a similar drive at Wadala station in February.
The idea had been mooted by senior railway police officials, the police said.