Tinted film ban: We were stalked, harassed by road romeos

BIKE-ROMEOSA.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Dear Chennai city police chief,

Two weeks ago, I got the expensive 3M sun-control film peeled off the windows and rear windshield of my car, to avoid being hauled up by your patrol teams.

My car now feels like an oven and the air conditioning takes forever to kick in, but those problems I can live with.

However, what I cannot bear was what happened last Sunday. I took my 15-year-old sister and a friend out for dinner to a restaurant on Cathedral Road.

As we drove through the lean Sunday night traffic, we had apparently aroused the fancy of eight burly fellows speeding along on four bikes.

We tried to ignore the cat calling, the whooping and the dangerous zig-zagging of the brash Romeos, but it got to me when two of them stopped beside us and waved a bunch of cinema tickets in my face. “Variya?” the Romeo mouthed.

We shook them off when we entered the restaurant and even managed to enjoy dinner. Then, we decided to drive to the Marina for ice cream and some salty sea breeze.

We were just starting on our Cornettos when three youngsters pulled up beside us on a Dio scooter (TN04AE 8058).

When the three boys, hardly out of their teens started hissing and making silly kissing noises at us, we laughed it off and decided to park elsewhere.

However they followed us up and down the service lane and stopped beside us whenever we stopped — until we gave it up as a bad day, and headed back home.

The ordeal was not over. They tailed us out of the beach and past the inspector general’s office, which was deserted.

With one boy riding dangerously fast and scarily close to my car, the other two took turns to reach out and pound on our windowpanes, all the time making obscene gestures with their tongues and fingers. We opened the window a crack and shouted, “What do you want? Leave us alone”.

“Open the window baby! Stop the car” the rider shouted back, an ugly leer on his face.
“Go to hell!” my friend shouted and I stepped on the gas pedal, hoping to leave them behind.

For 20 minutes, along the entire stretch of Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, we were harassed, called obscene names and asked for unprintable favours. The depraved fellows pounded on the car with their fists and pulled at the door handles.

Finally, I spotted a police outpost at Poes Garden, guarding the CM’s residence. I pulled up next to the cop, who understood what was happening immediately — he charged at the boys with his lathi but they sped off as soon as they saw him.

The policewoman at the outpost asked us to lodge a complaint at the Teynampet police station the next morning.

The next day, as I related the experience at the police station, the only question the officer there asked me was, “What were you three girls doing out so late?”

I was taken aback, because I was not aware of Chennai being under curfew? If the police was doing their job, we three girls would have enjoyed an ice cream each in the privacy of our car and gone home in peace.

What I ask of you, Chennai city police, is whether this incident provides you with sufficient grounds to exempt me from the ban on sun-control film, such as the VIPs who have been exempted.

Or can I trust that you will be there, standing at every street corner, at every traffic junction and parking space to protect us from sexual harassment?

Yours truly,A frustrated woman driver

PS. A week has passed and I am yet to get that promised phone call from your Teynampet police station to tell me that the Romeos on the Dio scooter have been found.

Police find it difficult to enforce ban on sun films

With only a handful of professionals at their disposal, it may not be an overstatement to say that an already ‘overburdened’ police force is ‘struggling’ to enforce the Supreme Court ruling against use of sun control films in cars.

Traffic cops on the field did not mind admitting the difficulty they face in removing the films in an array of cars, while the top brass, as usual, gloated that they were enforcing the rule with ease.

A deputy commissioner-level officer, preferring anonymity, said they employ professionals engaged in sun film business to remove them.

“Neither time nor manpower is a difficulty. It does not require more than five minutes to remove sun control films from a car,” the officer pointed out, ruling out any leniency.

“It is a court direction. It is our duty to enforce it. There is no question of showing lenience,” the officer said, pointing out that it was for the government or people to appeal to the court to relax the order. “We cannot tell the court that AC does not function properly or men stare into cars at signals,” he added.

The officer also stoutly denied charges of traffic cops using the court direction to ‘fleece’ the public.
Sadly, disposal of the removed, non-biodegradable films is something the police have not thought about thus far.

In fact, another DC-level officer conceded to DC that they have not even thought about the issue. As of now, those engaged in moving the film have been asked to take them away.

“We don’t follow the way the professionals dispose of the films,” he said, assuring to look into it in consultation with other officials.

A closer study of the enforcement reveals that the films are carelessly thrown on the streets, unmindful of the ecological implications.

Striking a chord with the policemen are transport officials who assert that they have no option but to enforce the court order. Perhaps, it is high time the enforcement agencies took care about disposing the sun film removed from cars.

Muslim families find order tough

The ban of sun-control film has also caused problems to certain sections where women practice purdah in public.

Until the sun-control film came, traditional Muslim families used curtains on the windows of their vehicles.

Now, after the police began peeling off the film from car windows, these families are going back to using curtains, which could be even dicier than the sun film in terms of security.

“Muslim ladies in the southern districts are very conventional and they use purdah while moving out. Such families will find it difficult to take their women out in cars fitted with windows having see-through glasses”, says Arcot Nawab Abdul Ali.

“It is not necessary to slap such a sweeping ban on the sun-control film just because a few anti-socials roam the streets. Ninety nine per cent of our people are law-abiding”.

Former state advocate general K Subramanian said women’s organisations could file a review petition before the Supreme Court, which would go before the same judges who had passed the original (ban) order.

If relief is not obtained, they could thereafter file a curative petition, which would be listed before a Bench having three new judges apart from the two original judges.

This Bench will first discuss the matter in the chamber and thereafter, if they feel that there is scope for review, will give notice to the concerned parties and re-hear the matter.

“It is true that in a hot country like ours, the sun-control film makes travel by road far more comfortable. Courts can be approached for a review”, the ex-AG said.

“Stripping a car of its sun-control film could expose a VIP, including a judge or a police officer, to danger from anti-socials, who otherwise would not know whether their target is traveling in the vehicle or not”, said K Nagaimugan, president, Hindustan Forward Bloc. “The Mumbai attack was carried out by terrorists using a police-type vehicle with red beacon light, so can we ban such vehicles too?”

Comments

So much of protests and

So much of protests and suggestions have appeared in these columns but no action vis a vis. filing a review petition has been by any organisation / NGO etc.
Let us stop crying and start some action.

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