Children give a placard to a rider at Hili More on Saturday. (Santanu Ghosh)
Balurghat, Jan. 20: Around 50 schoolchildren yesterday took to Gandhigiri, stopping helmet-less bikers and giving them placards that had sarcastic lines praising their “bravery”.
Police have taken photographs of the helmetless bikers with the placards in their hands and these would be kept as records.
Around 30 people were presented with placards that read: “Ami ekjon shahoshi chalok, mrityu ke bhoy paina. Tomra jotoi baron koro, ami paroa korina (I am a brave rider, not scared of death. You may warn me many times, but I don’t care).”
Yesterday was the last day of a weeklong road safety drive in Balurghat town.
The police started the road safety drive on January 13. Yesterday children from six schools in Balurghat and several local NGOs took part in it.
From 8am, the children kept an eye on Thana More, Hili More, Balurghat Bus Stand and Dunlop More.
“I forgot to wear the helmet as I was in a hurry to reach a programme venue outside Balurghat town. On my way, some school students stopped me. They rushed towards me and gave me the placard. I felt ashamed in front of those kids. I promised them that from next time, I would not make the mistake of not wearing a helmet,” said Biswajit Ghosh, a resident of Balurghat.
Moumita Raut, a student of Atreyee DAV School who was at Hili More, said: “We told the uncles to wear helmets for their own safety. It felt good working for the road safety week. Most of the bike riders were embarrassed when we gave them the placards and took their pictures.”
The traffic police had prepared the placards.
“The idea came from our district chief. When he told us about the Gandhigiri plan, we set to work. Generally, people without helmets are fined. But with such a placard given by children and a photograph taken, the riders were embarrassed. Our plan was not to humiliate them, but to make them conscious about safety. It is for the safety of the people. We will keep the photographs as records,” said a traffic police officer.
Bhaskar Chatterjee, a playwright from Balurghat who was at Hili More when some children were garlanding a person, said: “Gandhigiri is a fantastic idea. We often see policemen checking papers and fining those who do not wear helmets. But today, it was a different scene when those without helmets were stopped by students and given a placard explaining how brave they were for not wearing helmets.”
South Dinajpur police chief Prasun Banerjee said: “The idea worked. I am thankful to the students for doing this.”