Activists oppose compulsory helmet rule in PMC limits

ST CORRESPONDENT
Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Activists have called this move ‘ill thought’ and a way to ‘hold the citizens hostage’ and have demanded to know the stance of elected representatives on the rule being implemented by the city police.

PUNE: Puneites have joined hands against the compulsory helmet rule by launching ‘civil disobedience’, movement from Thursday. 

Members of Action Committee for Opposition to Helmet Compulsion have decided to launch this campaign to oppose the Pune Police’s compulsory implementation of helmet rule from Tuesday. Activists have called this move ‘ill thought’ and a way to ‘hold the citizens hostage’ and have demanded to know the stance of elected representatives on the rule being implemented by the city police. 

A meeting of a ‘Helmet Virodhi Kruti Summittee’ (Action Committee for Opposition to Helmet Compulsion) was held where this decision was taken. The members of the committee comprised prominent activists and political figures such as Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagrik Manch, Suryakant Pathak of Grahak Peth, Shantilal Suratwala, politicians Mohansingh Rajpal, Shyam Deshpande, Balasaheb Runwal, Sandip Khardekar, Mandar Deshpande and Dhananjay Jadhav. 

At the end of the meeting, it was decided to oppose the ‘arbitrary move’ taken by the Pune Police, and a ‘civil disobedience’ campaign will be launched on Thursday (January 3) morning. 

“Hundreds of two-wheeler riders will come together at Patrakar Bhavan on Thursday morning and will ride without wearing helmets towards the Pune Police Commissionerate. After reaching the commissionerate, a representative will meet the CP and hand-over him the memorandum opposing the move,” said Velankar. 

Pathak said, “Motor Vehicles Act does not mention any compulsion to wear headgear within municipal limits. Despite knowing that, such compulsion does not work and has failed in the past, the Pune Police have gone ahead with the diktat.” 

“We want to ask the police, have they even cared to check if there are enough helmets in the market for each of the 25 lakh two-wheeler owners to buy one?” asked Pathak, pointing out that the cops themselves have been often found to be violating the ‘helmet rule’. 

The Action Committee has also pointed towards the silence of senior politicians over the issue. 

“Except for Vijay Kale (BJP) and Anant Gadgil (Congress), no politicians have come forth with their views on the unjust rule. We urge bikers that if they are caught and penalised for not wearing a helmet, they should call or message Guardian Minister Girish Bapat asking him the way out,” said the activists. 

In November, Pune Police Commissioner K Venkatesham had announced that the city police will make it mandatory for bike riders to wear helmets and those who fail to do will have to pay a fine of Rs 200. He gave statistics on bikers who lost their lives in road accidents in the city to justify the move.  “We can’t continue with the situation where bike riders are losing their lives almost every day on the roads,” he had said.

Related News