Riders in Thane's Ulhasnagar area were halted at various traffic signals by not the regular cops stationed usually, but by a group of transgenders this past week. A group of them helped out traffic police officers in manning the traffic, stopping those who flunk rules or don't wear helmet- all of it. And the best part, motorists often indulge in arguing with the cops about fines but they refrained from doing so when it came to the their new law enforcers.
Around 50 transgenders positioned themselves along with the traffic cops and kept watch on busy roads and in case of any rule-breaking, they stopped the vehicles to have a word with the defaulters on road safety and traffic rules.
The drive was jointly taken up by the Ulhasnagar traffic unit and Vanya Foundation, a report in Hindustan Times said.
29-year-old Karishma Shah, a transgender who took part in the drive and lives in Vithalwadi said motorists were shocked to see them instead of the cops and at first didn't know what to do.
She said they did not argue when asked to show them their documents in case the latter flouted rules and accepted their mistakes too. Karishma said most of them paid the fines and said they will be mindful of further rule breaking on the road.
Karishma said her community decided to help out the traffic police in this unique initiative because they wanted to be good citizens and make people aware of traffic rules. The Ulhasnagar area is usually a busy road and unruly riders end up congesting the roads further. Thus the drive by the police was a very welcome step.
Also, supporting the transgender community in the initiative were at least 100 specially-abled children who distributed white roses as a mark of peace to those who honked without reason in a subtle way to remind them against it.
Vanya Foundation's head Rekha Thakur reportedly told HT that the idea stemmed from the need to create more dialogue between the people and the transgender community as there are still so many taboos active. The foundation has also made a traffic symbol song to raise awareness in Ulhasnagar and Ambernath. The group also organised bike rallies with the transgender community, marathon, walkathon and cyclothon to create awareness.