The complicated Kashmir issue has just got worse after the recent clashes between civilians and security forces and police in the valley. The clashes have claimed at least 38 lives and hundreds more have got injured seriously. The police who tried to quell the protests had used pellets which in turn have seriously or permanently impaired eyesight of more than hundreds including women and children. Police claim that it is a “non lethal weapon”, but doctors treating pellet victims say it maims a person forever. Taking stock of the situation, the central government has dispatched eye specialists to aid the treatment of the injured.
What are pellets?
Pellet cartridge holds around 600 little iron balls, which gets scattered when shot and hits anyone and everyone within range. Metal pellets create a pattern 6 feet square at a distance of 60 yards from the place of shooting. The police consider pellets as non-lethal weapons that are routine in quelling protests. It was introduced in Kashmir in the aftermath of the 2010 protests in which more the 120 people were killed. The scale and nature of injuries tell otherwise, there are some cases where the pellets cannot be removed and the person might have to live with these iron balls permanently inside his/her body. According to The Hindu “For instance, in one Srinagar hospital alone, the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, of the 87 civilians who were brought in with injuries, about 40 had sustained pellet injuries to their eyes. Of these, doctors concluded that 19 persons, or almost half of those with eye injuries, may never recover their eyesight”. It is not clear yet, whether there was a conscious decision to fire the iron balls into people’s eyes or it was due to lack of training of the police in the usage of pellets.
Some of the ill effects of the recent episodes
The police & the army are at the mercy of the governments who have to execute the orders issued and also empowered by the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The space for discussion, debates, and opinions on the issue has shrunk and thereby taking the elusive solution to the Kashmir issue further away from us.
The way forward – Dialogue
Kashmir issue has taken a lot of lives which includes our own army and our own people who live in the valley. The question we should ask ourselves how far are we going to go or are we keep sacrificing the lives of our own army and people without solving the issue. The issue is making us (Indians, Armed forces, Police & Indian citizens of Kashmir) lose more be it life, be it resources, be it relationships and what not. The recent incident has further alienated our brothers in Kashmir. For once, all stake holders should take a step back and take a birds eye view of what is happening there and what is the best way forward. All stake holders should come to the table and iron out issues, build trust among each other and foundations have to be laid for the future i.e schools, colleges, roads, bridges.
The Logical Indian appeals to all the stake holders to remain calm, given a large number of lives being lost in the last few days. Our thoughts and wishes are with the families of the people who lost their lives and when we say lives, we mean the armed forces, police, and the citizens. We hope and wish, a constructive dialogue can resume sooner than later.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.