In a blatant abuse of power, a traffic policeman was beaten by a senior Jammu and Kashmir minister's escorts on Monday for doing his duty.
The incident happened allegedly after Sub Inspector Mohan Lal stopped the convoy of Taj Mohiuddin, J&K's Irrigation and Flood Control Minister, from jumping a traffic signal at the busy Maulana Azad road near Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
"Yesterday, at around 5 pm, Mr Mohiuddin's driver jumped the red signal. When we stopped him and told him that what you violated the traffic rule, the driver stopped the car in the middle of the road. When I asked him to move to one side, he said you don't know whose car you have stopped. I said I know it is the minister, and we honour him, but what you did is wrong. After this, his PSOs got down from the car and thrashed one of my colleagues. I said if you have any complaint, you should speak to our seniors. And when I tried to stop them from attacking my colleague, the other one hit me with the butt of his rifle," said Mr Lal, who was admitted to a hospital after the incident. (Watch: Minister told me don't you know who I am, says J&K traffic cop
The minister, meanwhile, said he never jumped the traffic signal.
"I don't know about the incident and my real escort was not with me, he was stuck between the vehicles somewhere. This is not my personal staff. I never jumped the signal, in fact I stopped. My escort vehicles which were ahead, crossed the traffic signal but I stopped as the signal had changed. My driver stopped because he in under strict instructions, as I'm the fellow who was advocating installation of the signals. So there is no question of violating any signal norm. It was the rear vehicles, I don't have the eyes on my back to see what is happening behind me. When lights changed, I left. I went to Doordarshan where I had a programme," said Mr Mohiuddin.
"I came to know about the incident after I finished the programme. I immediately rang up IG, Traffic, and asked for a case to be registered. But I regret this incident," the minister added.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that strong action will be taken against the escorts, who were arrested following the incident.
"The cops who beat the traffic police officer have been arrested and booked. I have asked for strongest possible action under law," Mr Abdullah tweeted yesterday.
It has been three months since traffic lights have been installed in Srinagar and so far even the chief minister and top police officers have been following the rules and stopping at red lights.