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Kokrajhar, where wearing helmet is crime

Kokrajhar, April 9: Though wearing a helmet is compulsory under Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act. 1988, BTC headquarters, Kokrajhar, seems to be an exception to this law.

Believe it or not, the district administration here has banned two-wheeler riders from wearing the headgear since October, 2011. Last October, helmet-wearing assailants shot two businessmen. Citing the law and order situation, the district administration had banned wearing of helmets. Riding pillion was also banned causing a lot of inconvenience for the general public.

Conscientious citizens, who were suffering and were being subjected to harassment by the police, had urged the administration to lift the ban. They felt imposing such a ban for five to six months was unnecessary.

“The ban has caused immense difficulty for riders. It is risky to ride a bike without wearing a helmet. But, because of the ban I am risking my life everyday,” said B. Brahma, who rides his bike 20km to go to his workplace.

“Only we know how much difficulty we face during the winters. Besides that there is the dust and not to forget the risk to our lives if an accident takes place,” said another citizen.

Residents complained that the police charge fines of Rs 100, Rs 200, or Rs 500 whenever they catch a rider wearing a helmet.

Rupswrang Narzary, a Kokrajhar citizen, said: “It is ridiculous, on one hand the traffic police organise Road Safety Week, creating awareness on wearing helmets , and at the same time the administration has banned wearing helmets. This can only happen in Kokrajhar.”

The public opined that the administration could not impose such a ban on the public.

“We urge the district administration to lift the ban on riding pillion and wearing a helmet. The administration cannot harass the public for so long. Instead it should take security measures to safeguard the lives and property of the people. Economically weak and middle class families cannot afford luxurious transportation like four-wheelers. The onlyoption for us is bikes and scooters for daily transportations,” said another Kokrajhar resident.

Kokrajhar superintendent of police Jitmol Doley said the administration had only banned full helmets. “We know wearing a helmet is mandatory but the administration can impose certain restrictions when there is a law and order problem.” He added that he was aware of the inconvenience being faced by the public and that would take up the issue with the district administration.