There seems to be no stopping the elements who use Besant Nagar roads like a Grand Prix circuit. Youngsters who imagine themselves to be reincarnates of Ayrton Senna, have made it a habit to engage in races with their supposedly 'cool' bikes and cars, giving scant respect to the law on these stretches. But the high-handedness of these elements are now getting too much to bear for people who frequent the Elliot's Beach, where, elders say, their lives are put at risk by the speeding vehicles.
Recently, a group of socially-aware students held a demonstration against recent incidence of misuse of the IT Act and demanded a revision of the provisions. While this was happening, loud noise of zooming bikes suddenly filled the air.
In a matter of seconds, about three bikes, all driven by youngsters most likely in the age group between 18 and 22, zipped past the crowd. All the vehicles were seen trying to overtake each other on the narrow stretch along the beach at speeds that could certainly not be less than 90 kilometres per hour. None of the bikers had a helmet on. Same was the case with those riding pillion. Interestingly, one of the bikes did not have a number plate.
When the bikes crossed a popular coffee shop on the stretch, one of them almost ran over an elderly couple. In what looked like rubbing salt into the wounds, the youngsters on the bikes laughed out loud at the couple, who looked terrified.
Ironically, the race began from near the police outpost on the beach. But there was no sign of policemen, even though it was peak time in the evening, when crowd usually build up on the sands.
"What if a child suddenly crosses the road and gets hit by the bikes? Who will be answerable to the parents?" questioned the rattled elderly man who requested anonymity.
Beach-goers said this was nothing new on this stretch. "This happens almost every day, especially in late afternoon. The police do intervene sometimes and try to stop the speeding vehicle, but they invariably escape," said Santhan, who walks on the beach everyday.
Police officials, though, said they leave no stone unturned to stop this menace. "Last month alone, we have booked about 75 cases of rash driving. Policemen always keep a watch. It is not like we don't take action. This could have been a one-off incident," said an official at the Sastri Nagar police station.