4,600 women fined for no helmet

The traffic police on Wednesday carried out their threat to prosecute women riding two-wheelers without a helmet, fining over 4,500 offenders on the very first day of the enforcement of the new law.

They had decided not to challan women for 15 days and run an awareness campaign after the government made helmets mandatory for women riders, even those riding pillion. Only Sikh women were exempted.

But implementing the new rule turned out to be tougher for the policemen than they had expected. While most women caught without a helmet claimed they were still unaware of the rule, several others took shelter behind the excuse that they had forgotten to bring the helmets along.

At Janakpuri in west Delhi, a woman and her daughter were seen arguing with two traffic policemen claiming that they were not in the habit of wearing helmets because of which they forgot to carry them along. The policemen were unrelenting though.

A police officer told this newspaper that several women across Delhi claimed to be unaware of the new rule.

“Many were using it an excuse. But we did not relent as we had conducted an awareness campaign,” the officer said.

Traffic policemen had been trained to be sensitive and yet firm while dealing with the women offenders, and the officer said no case of law enforcers misbehaving with women was reported.

Since the law exempts Sikh women from wearing helmets, traffic policemen let go anyone with a common Sikh surname on her identity card. Those seated behind Sikh men went unchecked.
But that also caused problems as many non-Sikh women demanded to know why some women without helmets were not being fined. They needed to be explained the new law.

About a hundred teams were deployed across the city on Wednesday to challan women offenders. By 8 pm, 4,644 women had been fined with most offenders (1,280) being reported from south Delhi.

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