This is an eye-witness account from my wife who was at Panchwati Circle a few days ago. The time was 6.00 pm. She was waiting at the cross road as the traffic lights were red.
“A lady driving a scooter shot across while the other side had already started moving. A young volunteer traffic cop stopped her in the middle of the circle gesticulating to her to move aside. There seemed to be some heated verbal exchange and the lady refused shaking her head vigorously. She then struck the hand of the traffic cop and next started hitting him with her hands. He ducked. She then started driving her scooter onto the foot of the cop. There was no congestion at the circle. She then began to drive away. The cop held on to the back of the scooter. She had to stop so she jumped off the scooter which fell onto the road. She then ran after the cop beating him with her hands. He ran around the scooter trying to duck but never lifted his hands. Her head was covered with the usual dupatta and she wore sun glasses making her face invisible. Finally, another cop came and put himself between her and the other cop. Another cop came and lifted her scooter. She drove away after possible hurling abuses. I could not leave my car as I was at the wheel. I could do nothing but watch with a sense of shame. But the others around me, they watched the entire scene laughing.”
The incidents of traffic offenders attacking cops have become common
A couple of days later, my wife troubled at this civic misbehaviour went to the same cross road. She entered the police station and asked for the cop who was aggressed. There was only one young man and he looked up and smiled and said it was him. She recognised him and told him that she was a witness to that incident in case there was any action to be initiated. He shrugged and said that all that was in a day’s work. There were 50 such cases a day, he said. “How can I hit a woman?” he asked.
Obviously the woman seemed to have taken advantage of that fact. He said that the woman said that she would take action as he had molested her. “That’s outrageous!” my wife exclaimed. “I saw the whole thing clearly in front of my eyes.” Besides to molest a woman in full front of commuters in full daylight in the middle of a busy circle, how plausible was it?
He shrugged. “We have to bear this madam.” He was a young man, a volunteer, just starting out his career.
There have been so many instances of people attacking traffic cops and even injuring them whenever they are stopped. What is it that drives people to misbehave with the traffic cops? Do they cease to see them as human beings? Do they only see the uniform and beat them as a kind of perverse anger directed at those cops who might have abused the system? The traffic cop is unarmed and spends a good part of his day in polluted areas under a sweltering day. It’s not easy for them. All cops are not corrupt and if one is, then there is a redressal mechanism. Just remove all the traffic cops on the roads and see the chaos that will ensue!
Was the case mentioned above actually a battle of the sexes where the woman took out her full anger on a man? Today, I think I found an answer by the traffic police. A woman cop. At the law garden circle, two youth with scarves on their necks drove past and spat pan just in front of my car. They advanced beyond the acceptable line. This lady cop came and gesticulated to them to move back. They did not, trying to rev up their engine more. She calmly came forward and switched off their engine! They could do nothing but wait for the change in signal. More women participation will change the scenario!
The above article was published in the Ahmedabad Mirror on 01/05/2010