Seeing the photo above, you may be wondering why a policeman is standing with his hands folded before people who are clearly breaking traffic rules. The family of five is seated precariously on a two-wheeler and none of them is wearing a helmet.
Clicked in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district on Monday, the photo has been going viral due to the bizarre juxtaposition of a law enforcer apparently pleading with law breakers.
But here’s the story behind this photo.
The policeman in the photo, B Shubh Kumar, the Circle Inspector of Madakasira circle, was on his way to work around 10 am when saw K Hanumantharayudu, the man riding the bike. His sons were perched on the fuel tank, Hanumantharayudu’s wife sat behind him and a woman relative was precariously balanced behind her.
What prompted Shubh Kumar into this expression was the frustration and helplessness of seeing such a gross traffic violation before him right after he had finished an hour and a half-long session on road safety and how not adhering to traffic safety rules could have consequences for one’s family.
“It was frustrating, knowing that we put so much effort into creating an awareness and yet people pay no heed to it at all. While I was frustrated, I couldn’t scold or shout at him. I didn’t want to make police evil in the minds of his children, given that the police are already seen by some as harassers of the public,” Shubh Kumar told TNM.
He also said that Hanumantharayudu was a repeat offender and had been given warning multiple times before.
“I somehow had to convey that what he did was wrong! His children were sitting on the petrol tank, there was no chance of maneuvering the vehicle. It was so dangerous! He had put the lives of his wife and children at such danger. So, my immediate reaction was to fold hands and humbly request him to follow road safety,” Shubh Kumar says.
Shubh Kumar says that he didn't fine the family, and also went the extra mile to ensure their safety when he found out that Hanumantharayudu didn’t have his driving license.
“I was really annoyed,” Shubh Kumar admits, “But they had told us that they were going to a temple. So, didn’t want to ruin their day. I hired an auto rickshaw and sent his wife and children to the temple in that.”