Goa Director General of Police (DGP) Muktesh Chander on Tuesday compared himself to 15th-century Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei after being targeted for the strict enforcement of the rule mandating the wearing of helmets.
"You may not believe in wearing a helmet... But there was a fellow named Galileo. Everyone (then) used to believe that the Sun rotates around the Earth. When he said Earth moves around the Sun, everyone abused him. Finally, he was sent to prison. Galileo said, 'I will prove it with a telescope'. People still did not believe him and he died in jail," Chander said while making an appeal during a presentation on road safety here.
"Today, I am telling you that a helmet is necessary. I showed you a (helmet) demo too. You can try the demo at home, with a melon. If you still do not understand, then what can I do?" Chander added that those who do not want to follow traffic rules should sign organ donation forms so that their organs can be harvested in case they meet with a fatal accident.
He said that those who do not believe in wearing helmets should join conspiracy theory groups like the "Flat Earth Society", whose members, he said, continue to believe that the Earth is flat. An unprecedented crackdown on traffic violators as well as a unique 'Traffic Sentinel Scheme' launched by the Goa Police last year, which rewards citizens monetarily for photographing traffic violations, was criticised by both the ruling as well as the opposition MLAs in the recently concluded budget session of the state Assembly.
Under pressure, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government has promised a review of the controversial scheme. Chander, however, maintains that due to the strict enforcement of traffic norms, road accident deaths have decreased, adding that the traffic police was not to be blamed for the drop in tourism as claimed by the industry stakeholders.
"There is no law which says tourists are allowed all violations in Goa. They are also supposed to observe traffic laws. But the moment we start implementing this in a serious way, the whole tourism sector appears to have collapsed on our head," the DGP said.
(With inputs from agencies.)