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Chandigarh citizens haul up errant cops on Facebook

Saturday June 11, 2011 11:03:40 AM, Alkesh Sharma, IANS

Chandigarh: Chandigarh Police created its Facebook account earlier this week to enhance public participation in maintaining law and order. And its laudable efforts to harness social media is also helping to rein in many an errant cop.

Common people are now tagging photographs of cops violating traffic rules. The account has already identified three cops, including a woman official, while violating traffic norms.

Two police constables have been issued slips (challans) but the woman official could not be fined as her face and scooter number were not clear in the uploaded photographs, police said.

"The people of Chandigarh are very responsive and they are actively posting suggestions and photographs on the Facebook account. We have fined at least six people on the basis of tags on Facebook," Vijay Kumar, Chandigarh's deputy superintendent of police (traffic), told IANS.

"They also include two constables, posted with Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB). Besides, an inquiry has been initiated against them and disciplinary action will be taken. We could not take any action against the woman official as her photograph is not clear," stated Vijay Kumar.

The accused constables were identified as Dharamvir Singh and Satyawan.

"The law is the same for everyone, irrespective of rank and post and we want more such initiatives from Chandigarh residents in the coming days. In fact they should also post the time, date and place of offence. They can also send a post if they find any illegal business going on in their vicinity,"said Vijay Kumar.

NGOs and residents of Chandigarh are happy as they have found a tool to contribute in law management through the social networking site that is particularly popular among the young.

"I had proposed to Chandigarh police to create a Facebook account many months ago and now its positive results are before everyone. It has increased public participation in curbing traffic violations," Harman Singh Sidhu, president of the city-based NGO Arrive Safe that is working on developing road safety programmes, told IANS.

"People have started targeting cops and other traffic violators through Facebook. It is an open platform and it would certainly help to make Chandigarh roads somewhat safer," said Sidhu, who has been confined to a wheelchair after a car accident in 1996.

Chandigarh, with a population of 1.1 million, has around 770,000 registered private vehicles. It reports around 300 accidents every year, of which 150 are fatal.

Arrive Safe has been working with various organisations like the ministry of road transport and highways, Chandigarh traffic police, Haryana Police and Punjab roads and bridges development board.

"I have around a dozen photographs of traffic cops taking bribes and driving official vehicles without wearing seat belts. I am going to tag all of them with date and time on Facebook," Sidhartha Sharma, a freelance photographer, told IANS.

Sonakshi Mahapatra, a banker, said: "I am very happy that now we can also keep a tab on the cops and on society. Besides, we can make videos of unruly youths and upload them. This will automatically deter people from indulging in unlawful activities."



(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)




 


 

 

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