To Protest Against Mandatory Rule, Pune Group Takes Out "Funeral" For Helmet
Despite people in Pune increasingly becoming victim to road accidents due to not wearing helmets, residents and politicians are strongly opposing Pune police’s compulsory drive to implement helmet rule from January 1.
Mocking the helmet rule, an elaborate ‘funeral’ was conducted at a crematorium for a helmet by ‘Helmet Sakti Virodhi Kruti Samiti’, a Pune group, reported DNA. Police was slammed for the move at the event led by Shiv Sena leader Mahadev Babai. A tweet by Lost At Home Podcast shared a picture of the same.
— Lost At Home Podcast (@TheLostAtHome) January 9, 2019
The symbolic departed soul’s last rituals were performed at Vaikunth crematorium, inside which vada pav and a bottle of liquor were offered. The simple, life-saving rule has troubled people so much that political rivals, like members of the Congress, BJP, NCP have joined hands to protest.
The funeral was basically a medium to convey the activists’ varied concerns. They had to say that spondylosis and hair loss were caused by helmets, awareness must be raised by police before taking action, the real reason for accidents and deaths was poor road conditions and there is no need for helmets as bikes cannot move fast, reported DNA.
Opposition and support
Among politicians who opposed the move is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Pune Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Shirole, who also appealed to the authorities to make it a voluntary decision to make people wear the headgear. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been urged by him to ask the police to carry out awareness drives instead of implementing the rule strictly, reported Hindustan Times.
“The use of helmet should not be made mandatory, but keep it as a personal choice. There are many cases of people suffering from medical issues after using helmets. Hence, it is my opinion that this issue should be kept open to the public,” he said.
Despite all the opposition, however, there were some people who spoke rationally. According to techie Sayali Nalawade, there is absolutely no point in discussing the issue. Since it the law, it is meant to be followed and if someone does not follow it, their driving license should be cancelled. She further said that this rule should not just be made for Pune but for the entire country. Helmets do not save one life but the entire family.
On the other hand, Pune police’s move has been sharply criticised by social activist Sandeep Khardekarsocial, saying that mishaps are also happening to people who do not wear helmets on the road, and there are more important issues the police should cater to.
Coming together, a group of activists and politicians went on a two-wheeler rally without wearing helmets, from Ganjwe Chowk to Pune police commissionerate. They wore Puneri pagdi instead. Among those who participated in the rally included NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade, Congress leader Mohan Joshi, MNS member Rupali Patil and more.
Twitter handle of Sandip Kolhatkar shared a picture of the same.
— Sandip Kolhatkar (@SandipKolhatkar) November 10, 2014
The Logical Indian take
While Pune Police Commissioner K. Venkatesham’s has been vehemently opposed, the group who organised the rally submitted a letter to him criticising the provisions of Sections 128 and 129 of the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, 1988 that makes the same rule mandatory. The truth is that as many as 211 people riding two-wheelers have died due to road accidents in 2018, and 195 in 2017.
This compulsory helmet rule in Pune has been tried to be implemented several times before, in December 2001, 2004, and in 2011-12, but without success, reported The Hindu. Even this time, as the rally moved around in the city, no policeman came forward and stopped them.
The city boasts of having the maximum number of two-wheelers, which is 24 lakh, which are always chased by bad traffic conditions forcing people to be subjected to accidents. It goes without saying that the moment one falls off a two-wheeler, it is most likely that they will hit their head, and head injury has led to several fatalities.
While people should follow the law and care for their lives, on which many other lives are probably dependent, people come up with irrational comments on how the move is baseless. If one can say that the police should be concerned about more crucial issues, it is only fair to say that people should cater more important issues rather than holding a helmet funeral.
When a simple law can save several lives, it is the duty of every citizen to follow it. The Logical Indian hopes people will think more rationally and that the helmet rule is implemented throughout the country.