| A traffic constable penalises a motorist for violating the no-parking rule at Fraser Road on Tuesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
The mowing down of a traffic constable in Delhi last Saturday has been an eye-opener for Patna police, who have sent reminders to the personnel on roads to stay alert against rogue motorists.
With a set of dos and don’ts handed out to them, most traffic constables in Patna said they have encountered frightening incidents while on duty, where motorists never cared about regulations. They said the motorists were always ready to indulge in arguments or were ready to fight with them at any given point of time.
Manna Ram (26), who was posted at Zakhira flyover in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar area, was run over by a car that had three people in it after they entered into an argument with the constable when he stopped the vehicle and asked them to take a detour. Ram died on the spot after which the men were arrested and a case of murder was lodged against them.
“It was an eye-opener. The constables in Patna have been reminded the dos and don’ts that they need to follow while coordinating traffic on the roads. They come in contact with several motorists and have to deal with them on a daily basis. This is a difficult job. In the wake of the Delhi incident, they have been asked to stay alert and not indulge in any kind of argument with motorists. They have been asked to solve problems amicably,” said Vijay Kumar, the DSP (traffic-2).
On November 8, 2011, traffic constable Dhaneshwar Mandal, then posted at Ashok Rajpath under the jurisdiction of Pirbahore police station, was roughed up by a middle-aged man. The police said the constable had asked the person to remove his four-wheeler parked at the wrong place that led to an argument. The man had then hit the constable. An FIR had been lodged.
The officer said the 200-and-odd constables had been asked not to stand in front of any vehicle they stop during checks.
“The constables and officers do stop vehicles which are found flouting rules or if the cops feel that the men are suspicious et al. They should, under no circumstances, stand in front of a two- or four-wheeler. Once a vehicle is stopped, they should immediately check for the registration number and then stand on the vehicle’s side while having a conversation with the driver. If the driver starts his vehicle and is in a mood to speed off, the constables shouldn’t come in his way to catch him. They should be allowed to go and the constable should then send a wireless message to the officer at the next picket. If they have not been able to take down the registration number, they can always explain the make and colour of the vehicle, the appearance of the driver and the number of people in it,” the DSP said.
Constables agreed that the situation on the roads sometimes turns ugly.
“Problems happen on empty roads and after sunset. Once, I had stopped a car near Income Tax roundabout around 9pm and found the driver drunk. He claimed to be ‘big businessman’. Before I could do anything, he pushed me and stepped on the accelerator. The car swerved on my side but he gained control. He sped off along Bailey Road,” said traffic constable Ramesh Kumar.
Another constable said they face such situations because their hands are tied.
“Some talk about knowing big politicians, while others say they are relatives of senior police officers and bureaucrats. They argue, some throw weight. It is risky considering they can harm us personally and professionally. But it is our duty to control traffic,” the constable said.