According to IANS, Under fire from ruling and opposition MLAs, as well as the tourism industry stakeholders for ‘harassment’ of commuters and tourists by traffic police, Goa DGP Muktesh Chander on Tuesday likened himself to Italian scientist of the 1500s Galileo Galilei, claiming that he was being targetted for strictly enforcing use of helmets as mandated by rationality and law.
In an emotional appeal made during a presentation on road safety in Panaji, Chander also said, that those who do not want to follow traffic rules, should sign organ donation forms, so that their organs can be harvested in case they meet with lethal accidents. “You may not believe in helmet… But there was a fellow named Galileo. Everyone (then) used to believe that the sun rotates around the earth. When he said earth moves around the sun, everyone abused him. Finally he was sent to prison. He said, I will prove it with a telescope. People still did not believe him and he died in jail,” Chander said.
“Today, I am telling you that a helmet is necessary. I showed you a (helmet) demo too. You can try the demo at home, with a melon. If you still do not understand, then what can I do?” the top cop also said.
The DGP also sarcastically added, that those who do not believe in using helmets, should join conspiracy theory endorsing groups like the “Flat Earth Society”, whose members, he said, continue to believe that the earth is flat.
An unprecedented crack-down on traffic violators as well as a unique ‘Traffic Sentinel Scheme’ launched by the Goa Police last year, which rewards citizens monetarily for photographing traffic violations was criticised by both ruling as well as opposition MLAs in the recently concluded budget session of the state assembly. Over last few weeks, there have also been vigilante-like attacks on traffic sentinels, who were caught taking photographs of ongoing traffic violations.
Under pressure, the BJP-led coalition government has promised a review of the controversial scheme.
Chander however maintains, that due to strict enforcement of traffic norms, deaths in road accidents had in fact come down, adding that the traffic police were not to be blamed for the drop in tourism footfalls as claimed by the industry stakeholders.
“There is no law which says tourists are allowed all violations in Goa. He is also supposed to observe traffic laws. But the moment we start implementing this in a serious way, the whole tourism appears to have collapsed on our head. That we are responsible for the collapse of tourism,” Chander said.
“Would (a tourist) do the same thing in his own country? Or can you dare to do something like this in Singapore, or USA or any other country? Promoting tourism does not mean giving a free hand to tourists, to commit all kinds of violations including drugs and all that,” he said.
In an emotional appeal, Chander also said, that those who do not want to follow traffic norms should sign up for organ donation and life insurance, so that others could benefit from their potential demise in an accident.
“For those who still do not want to believe in road safety, this is a form for organ donation and this is a life insurance form. Donate your organs, someone may get to use them and sign up for life insurance, it will help your wife and children,” he said.