CHENNAI: The summer is not yet a full-blown scorcher. But, what with the fear of the corona looming large and the 21-day lockdown in force, the tension is enough to make the brain boil inside the cranium. However, with folded hands, a traffic policeman stands at a signal near Spencers Plaza on Anna Salai, begging the motorists not to come out of their houses.
Tears welling up in his eyes, his impassioned speech caught the stray motorists off guard on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, as this is a far cry from the steady stream of videos online showing the men in khaki chastening desperate motorists with canes, pipes and whatnots elsewhere in the country. The impassioned traffic policeman, Rashid, offered to fall at the motorists’ feet if it could stop them from coming out, to which the apologetic motorists had no repartee to offer other than cringe at their transgression. Such was the impact of his explaining about the effects of community spread that a motorist fell at his feet, thanking Rashid for performing his duty humanely.
This behaviour, Commissioner of Police A K Viswanathan says, is due to the people of the city being ‘law-abiding’ citizens. “We have not harassed people like in some other states, as citizens here, by and large, obey law,” he says. However, the men in khaki did not go easy on violators. Each motorist was scrutinised at various checkpoints and was allowed to proceed only after the policemen were convinced that the person was out for a valid reason. In some cases, police took videos of the motorists. Another officer said that in the coming days, vehicles of repeat violators will be confiscated.