Exactly a week ago, when I was returning from my tuition centre, on my way to the auto-rickshaw stand, I stopped to find nine or ten people, with their backs towards to me, surrounding something or someone I could not see. I wondered what was going on, so I squeezed in between the people.
I saw a traffic constable and a rickshaw puller in an argument. The constable said, “You can’t park your rickshaw beside the stalls,” to which the rickshaw puller replied, “But Sahab, the two passengers got out here. You arrived here when I had just finished returning the change.”
Now, I began to understand the situation. The rickshaw puller was carrying two passengers when they asked him to stop and paid the fare. When he finished returning the change, the constable arrived and thought that he was parking his rickshaw, which undoubtedly was a no-parking area. And, that’s how the row began.
“No”, the cop shouted, “Either you a pay a fine of Rs .100, or walk with me to the police station.” The poor rickshaw puller begged for forgiveness and said that he will never do such a thing in his life again.
But the merciless and obstinate officer forcibly made the helpless rickshaw puller pay Rs 50. But the cop wasn’t satisfied. He told him that he would not let him take his rickshaw along.
What the constable did was inhuman. He took a small pincer like thing from his back pocket and began to loosen the screws of the rickshaw’s front wheel. Immediately, the rickshaw was punctured and it collapsed, but the rickshaw puller grasped it.
However, the cop freed the arms of the rickshaw puller from the handle. The rickshaw became unstable and was bent on one side. It stood in that position in the middle of the road.
The rickshaw puller sobbed as it was perhaps his only source of income. His most precious possession had been destroyed in front of his eyes by an insensitive and ruthless constable..
No one protested as a police officer was involved. But the faces of the bystanders were grim with resentment for the cop, mercy for the helpless rickshaw puller, and guilt as they could not move a finger against him.
As for me, I could not do anything at that time, but I can at least share this with you and show that truth is bitter. It is almost incredulous that the slogan of the same traffic police of Kolkata is, “We Care for You”.
Abhinav Roy, X D, Kendriya Vidyalaya Ballygunge, Kolkata