How many times have you seen cops flouting the very traffic rules they're giving you tickets for? It happens all the time, but most of us just grit our teeth, mutter a few uncharitable words, and get on with our days. In Hyderabad, that's not going to happen anymore. At least for now, thanks to Amjed Ullah Khan from Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT).
Khan, a Hyderabad-based politician, has started a unique social media campaign called #PracticeWhatYouPreach to highlight the issue of police personnel, especially traffic cops, breaking traffic rules with impunity, reported The News Minute.
Khan posts photos and videos of police officers across the city riding bikes without helmets, talking on mobile phones while riding or riding triple seat on two-seater bikes. He makes it a point to mention the location and time of the traffic violation in his tweets so that the authorities can't evade questions. And finally, he tags Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police MM Reddy, and Telangana Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao on the tweets to bring the matter to their attention.
Khan has obviously struck a raw nerve, with people in Hyderabad immediately adopting the campaign and sharing photographs of traffic violations by police seen by them.
"I can't say that it's my campaign anymore... I have been sent more than 300 photos in the last few days alone," TNM quoted Khan as saying.
With so many high-ranking authorities being tagged on the barrage of tweets from Khan and Hyderabadis hell-bent on giving cops a taste of their own medicine, the police had no option but to make note of what the people are saying. On Aug 6, DGP Anurag Sharma shared Khan's tweets with the official handles of Hyderabad City Police and Cyberabad Police.
According to Khan, the campaign is in response to the traffic police's heavy-handed approach to issuing challans for minor infractions. He also claims that many cops have been given a target of issuing 100 challans daily to "fill up the empty coffers of the Hyderabad police department," TNM reported.
Fed up of the high fines, handed out arbitrarily without any consideration for individual circumstances, Khan decided that it was time the police was held to the same standard and as the general public.
'Why should police officers be exempt from rules', is the logic Khan is using to justify the campaign.
"They fine us for not wearing a seat belt, but I don't see a single person in a minister's convoy wearing one. They constantly fine us for not wearing a helmet, but do nothing when policemen ride around without one," he said.
In July, a penalty point system was introduced in Hyderabad, to be implemented from August 1. Under the system, specific penalty points had been assigned to different traffic violations. Crossing 12 penalty points would lead to a driver's license being suspended for a year.
Khan wants the same rule to be applied to cops. "Our demand is that any police officer who gets issued more than three challans, should be suspended," he said.
The social media campaign is just a start, not the end. In the next phase, Khan intends to make a collage of all the aggregated photos and make big banners that will be plastered all over the city, questioning if the police will be prosecuted in the same way as the citizens are. 'Lead by example,' is Khan's advice to the police.