Not unethical: traffic cops defend drive to shame violators

Not unethical: traffic cops defend drive to shame violators

A campaign by the Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) to use social media to name and shame violators has caused angst  among commuters.

The police justified the drive, saying it would be effective in discouraging traffic violations, while commuters believe the officers  are taking it too far.

Several college students were recently shamed when the  Mico Layout traffic police caught them flouting traffic rules and uploaded their pictures to social media.

BTP's social media team was careful to blur the faces of minors, but those publicly shamed included several girls.

"They cannot treat traffic violators like common criminals," said Karthik Srinivasalu (21), an MCom student at Christ College.

"It is unfair to upload pictures of offenders in the public domain unless he or she is a habitual rule-breaker. Surely, there are thousands of offenders across the city. Would the police post all their pictures on FB and Twitter?" he said.

Students also accused policemen of posting their own pictures with the offenders to impress their bosses. "This is invading one's right to privacy, especially after the recent Supreme Court verdict (which ruled that the right to privacy is 'intrinsic to life and liberty'," said Venkat Raman, a student of
St Joseph's College.

Some commuters said they were spared from police action by a mere mention of an influential name or two when caught flouting traffic rules.

"I came across a picture of a policeman in Twitter where he posed with a student as if holding a trophy," Christi Thomas, another student, said, adding, "The shaming would only provoke them to turn into rebels."

Social worker and a frequent bike rider, Manisha Sara, said the tactics could seriously backfire.

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