Side effects of Anna protest -- flouting of traffic norms

Anna Hazare
New Delhi, Aug 22: Flouting of traffic rules including triple riding on motorbikes without helmets has become a common sight in the city during the Anna Hazare protest for the last one week with police refraining from taking any action to avoid confrontation.

Apart from protest hot spots like Ramlila Maidan, India Gate and Jantar Mantar, some of the protesters carrying the tricolour, wearing head-bands and Gandhi caps could be seen in places like metro stations, important traffic junctions and markets flouting rules and creating inconvenience to the common man.

"Safe driving has become a challenge in last one week as some of the protesters try to block traffic suddenly. You see so many doing triple riding on motorbikes waving the tricolour as if they do not care about rules. Is this how we should respect our national flag by flouting rules?" said 31-year-old Sarita, an IT professional who drives from Dwarka to Connaught Place.

When asked why no action was being taken against those violating rules, a senior police official, who does not want to be identified, said their hands were "tied".

"The scene is like a mob is against administration and we cannot do anything. Instructions are that we should not create ''Anna versus Police'' or ''Protesters versus Police'' scenes.

"The moment we take action, it will backfire as the protesters are saying that the police are corrupt. We are aware of the violations on the streets. But the moment we stop a vehicle for triple riding or traffic signal jumping, the riders are talking that we have stopped them for money. It is a mob mentality," he alleged. 

Apart from violating traffic rules, some of the protesters are creating a lot of inconvenience to metro travellers.

"I could not enter the New Delhi metro station as the passage was blocked by a group of people claiming to be Anna supporters. I am against corruption but I am concerned about the way these protesters are behaving," said 22-year-old Madhuri who wanted to board a metro to Jahangirpuri.

Madhuri is among many girls of her age who feel unsafe because of the possibility of presence of some rowdy elements among the protesters even though they feel strongly about the cause of Hazare.

"I am a strong supporter of Annaji but we should keep in mind the convenience of the common man for whom he is fighting," said 30-year-old Priti from Dilshad Garden.

"Why cannot the protesters remain in Ramlila Maidan, the designated venue for the agitation," said 40-year-old Ramesh Gupta from Janakpuri.

Asked about people being inconvenienced by the supporters at the New Delhi metro station, a DMRC spokesman said the authorities have set up two additional counters and deployed extra staff to cater to the needs.

"Additional security personnel have also been deployed. We are trying our best to handle the situation."


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