When Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin, J. Rajendran made wearing of helmets mandatory in the district, people from all walks of life welcomed it as the headgear would save the bike riders in case of accidents. To highlight the importance of wearing helmets, Mr. Rajendran himself participated in a couple of awareness campaigns.
Subsequently, helmet sale in the district became a lucrative business. While a few companies that make high-quality helmets even organised special sale by hiring a few marriage halls in Tuticorin, sale of sub-standard helmets on the roadside too picked-up phenomenally.
As usual, a particular group of people opposed the dictum and announced that they would not wear helmets. Sensing the imminent defeat of the dictum, the police announced that those who resisted the police order and the journalists need not wear helmets that encouraged the ordinary man also not to wear the protective gear as he did not understand that he was going to face a lot of problems for not wearing the helmet.
The police who often proclaim that all are equal before law are now targeting only the ordinary public riding bikes without helmets while exempting the ‘privileged citizens’ of the district from wearing the protective gear.
Once the bike rider is intercepted and compelled to stop, a policeman or policewoman would forcibly remove the bike’s key and would be asked to show the driving licence and the RC book of the vehicle. If these documents are produced immediately, they book the bike rider for rash driving if the bike rider does not wear the helmet.
A sum would be collected from the bike rider as “fine” and would be allowed to move further.
While most of the police officers give receipt for the amount collected as “fine,” a few won’t give anything to the “erring bike rider.”
Now, Collector Ashish Kumar has unequivocally announced that every bike rider, including the journalists and the “privileged citizens of Pearl City,” should wear helmets from November 19 and warned that action would be taken against those who dare to defy it.
If the police believe the maxim ‘All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law,’ the Tuticorin district police should treat every citizen equally and book all violators of traffic rules without fear and favour, the common man expects.
If the law-enforcers tremble in fear and are biased, they should allow every citizen to ride the two-wheelers without helmets.
The Tuticorin police should treat every citizen equally and book all violators of traffic rules without fear and favour, writes P. Sudhakar