National

Kiran Bedi back to playing the police

Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi riding pillion during a night inspection in Puducherry on Friday.

Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi riding pillion during a night inspection in Puducherry on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Rides pillion to inspect women’s safety

Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Kiran Bedi on Friday slipped back into her erstwhile role of a cop by riding pillion with her staff on a midnight motorbike inspection of the streets of Puducherry. She was personally checking the measures in place for women’s safety, she said.

Her head covered with a scarf, Ms. Bedi rode by the city’s Anna Salai and New Bus Stand without being noticed.

Much to the chagrin of the ruling establishment, Ms. Bedi has been undertaking field visits and, occasionally, surprise inspections. She is known to cycle during weekends to become acquainted with problems, mostly civic in nature, since she took over as the L-G of the Union Territory.

This tour of town to check on women’s safety in the night, however, is a first.

“The night round was done incognito, as a pillion rider, to personally check how secure it was for women at night to be on the road. It seemed safe. But there was not a single cop anywhere spotted, unless they too were in disguise,” she said in a WhatsApp message.

In her account, the country's first woman IPS officer said there were several ‘triples riders’ found over-speeding. Also spotted were motorbikes without silencers, she said.

She said the tour indicated the need for ensuring mobile police presence as a strong measure of crime prevention.

On Saturday, Ms. Bedi directed senior police officials to ensure a motorcycle patrol from 11 p.m to 4 a.m in ‘vulnerable places’ such as the New Bus Stand, the Puducherry Railway Station, and cinema halls.

Her surprise inspection fetched her both accolades and brickbats. “There is nothing wrong in an administrator taking a proactive role. It will certainly put the cops on their toes. After all, women’s safety is of paramount importance,” said Onirban Dutta, a medical practitioner residing at Vaithikuppam.

Social media was quick to react to Ms. Bedi’s ride without a helmet.

In response to the criticism, Ms. Bedi said she had deliberately chosen not to wear one.

“Not wearing a helmet was a careful choice,” she said, as she “wanted to appear vulnerable and wanted to see how we women driving a bike were looked at.”

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 9:03:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kiran-bedi-back-to-playing-the-police/article19526154.ece

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