As many as 128 women were challaned for not wearing a helmet while riding two-wheelers on the first day of the challan drive on Wednesday. The police have decided to hold an awareness drive along with the challan drive from Thursday.
The awareness drive was launched on July 6 when a notification was issued by the UT Administration making the use of helmet compulsory for women two-wheeler riders, except Sikhs wearing a turban. The last day of the awareness drive was September 4.
The development came when an eight-member delegation of various Sikh bodies, including Samuh Gurdwara Sangathan and Shiromani Akali Dal, met senior officers at Punjab Raj Bhawan. The delegation was taken by Chandigarh Police to the Raj Bhawan to meet UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore.
The 128 women were challaned at different locations, including Transport Light Point-26, Sector 29 roundabout, Sector 11/15/16/10 roundabout, near Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG)-11.
The eight-member delegation, comprising MC Councillor Hardeep Singh, president of SAD, UT, Raghbir Singh, general secretary of Samuh Gurudwara Sangathan, Sadhu Singh, president of Sector 34 Gurdwara, was taken to Punjab Raj Bhawan when hundreds of members of different Sikh bodies threatened to go to the Raj Bhawan against the challan drive.
These members, including women riding two-wheelers carrying placards saying they will not wear a helmet, were stopped at the Sector 33/34/20/21 roundabout.
Hardeep Singh, who led the delegation, said, “The officers present at the Punjab Raj Bhawan assured us that our demand of exempting all Sikh women from this traffic rule will be sent to the Home Ministry in Delhi for the next decision. We apprised the officers at the Governor’s House that Delhi Police has already exempted all Sikh women from wearing helmet while riding two-wheelers.”
Though Hardeep Singh claimed that the Punjab Raj Bhawan officers had assured the delegation that the challan drive against women would not be held for the next 10 days, Chandigarh Police denied his claim. DSP Pawan Kumar, spokesman of UT Police, said, “The challan drive against the women riders not wearing helmet and awareness drive encouraging women to wear helmet will run simultaneously from tomorrow.”
DGP (UT) Sanjay Baniwal said, “The awareness drive is also a part of police action. Today was the first day of introducing the challan system. And we observed that we should continue our awareness drive for the next 10 days. We will again start the awareness drive.” Sources said, “During today’s challan drive, several Sikh women wearing turban were exempted from the challans.”
DIG (UT) OP Mishra said, “128 challans against the women riders for not wearing [a] helmet were issued on the first day. We have decided to continue the awareness drive till September 15. Till September 15, the women will not be issued challans for not wearing [a] helmet.”
SSP (Traffic) Shashank Anand said, “We will continue our awareness drive till September 15.”
On July 6, the Chandigarh Administration issued a notification making the use of helmet compulsory for women two-wheeler riders. According to the notification, only Sikh women wearing turban are exempted from this rule.