Pilot and Escort vehicles of VIP motorcade bulldozing their way forward through traffic
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Dear Prime Minister Sir,
It is not unusual to see and experience on the Indian roads the scenes of policemen in the Pilot and Escort vehicles of VIP motorcade badly abusing the ordinary drivers and sometimes misbehaving with them in their rush to bulldoze their way forward through the traffic. Their aggressive behavior often makes the drivers quite nervous and at times it even becomes the cause of some traffic accidents. It has also been repeatedly observed and reported that even ambulances are stopped by policemen on the road or cornered by the Pilot vehicle to give way to the VIP motorcade. Please note that I am not talking about the special motorcades of the PM or President for which special arrangements are made according to the notified guidelines. My concern here is with the innumerable motorcades in the country for which no traffic regulation is put in place and a superior right to way, over and above the ordinary citizens of India, is claimed and snatched by them rather forcefully from the rest of us on the roads by sounding loud sirens and darting ahead by scaring us. Every time it happens, we feel like subjects of a colony and not like the citizens of a free democratic country.
I can also understand the anxiety of policemen who are under tremendous pressure from the VIPs who lose cool and threaten them for not using sirens repeatedly and bulldozing the motorcade through the traffic. In general, policemen are afraid of the VIPs in our country and, therefore, behave in uncontrolled and high-handed manner when dominated by the powerful people who can harm them in a system where the might is right. They might be afraid that if they fail to provide a clear passage to a VIP motorcade, action would be taken against them. Imagine the plight of these people who are blowing powerful sirens year after year and of those who live and work at the roadside shops, homes, schools, and hospitals in addition to those who face the humiliation on the road. Just for the pleasure, pride, and satisfaction of a few people who think they are above the ordinary others.
I discussed this matter with a friend who has professional knowledge and learnt some facts about this anti-democratic practice. The Pilot and Escort are given to a person on two grounds: security and status. As far as security is concerned, the behavior of policemen has no professional justification because the use of marked Pilot vehicle makes it easy to identify the target, blowing of siren announces the arrival of target in advance, and aggressive driving through traffic increases the chances of road accident. All three actions compromise and do not enhance security of a protected person travelling in the motorcade. A preferential right to way to the protected persons at the expense of other citizens, therefore, cannot be justified on grounds of security and the only justification for a preferential right to way to certain individuals can be found in their status.
And where is the question of entitlement or status in blowing sirens and getting ahead of the others if the Constitution of India guarantees the equality of all citizens, the traffic laws prohibit dangerous and rash driving and jumping of traffic lane, and there would surely be the laws that prohibit people from disturbing others and creating noise pollution? If there is no law and if there is rule of law in this country, how then it is happening each day all over the country? Interestingly, all those who are openly and brazenly violating the law of the land are the ones who make the laws, enforce the laws, and interpret the laws, that is, the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, so much for the rule of law!
I discussed this matter with many friends and had no hope for a change as this tradition is serving the most powerful and entrenched people in the system until the day you changed the old colonial way of life perpetuated by the Congress and all other political parties after Independence by removing the red beacons from the state vehicles in one stroke of your pen! The people have openly welcomed that change and we all are grateful to you. Only you can take on these vested interests once again in this case who are openly ridiculing the laws in a broad daylight. If these people are so very special, please make a special law for their comfort or force them to follow the laws in place. I hope I am not asking for too much as a citizen of this country. Let them have their Pilot and Escort vehicles and give them more if that pleases them but do not let them violate the laws and humiliate the people of India!
Thanking you in anticipation.
A Citizen of India
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