Hours after a video showing Mumbai Traffic Police personnel towing away a car with a sick woman sitting in the rear seat and breastfeeding her seven-month-old baby went viral, a policeman was on Saturday suspended, pending an inquiry.
The incident occurred on Friday evening on the busy S.V. Road, in Malad (West), north-western suburb, and a video of the incident made by a local citizen, said to be her husband, went viral on the social media on Saturday.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar said the traffic police constable, who was identified as Shashank Rane by the person who shot the video, had been suspended pending an inquiry report.
“It will be dealt with appropriately and sternly after the preliminary report is received within 24 hours,” Kumar said.
“Prime facie, it has been noticed that the safety of woman and child was endangered in the said incident. Hence, pending inquiry, the constable has been placed under suspension. Decision about departmental action shall be taken after the inquiry report is received,” he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also heads the Home portfolio, came under severe attack from various political parties after the incident.
Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Shiv Sena, opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party strongly criticised the incident and demanded action against the guilty.
According to information, a young woman in her mid-20s, whose identity is not available, was sitting in her white car with her seven-month-old child when a towing van suddenly picked it up and started towing it away.
She begged and pleaded to stop the towing with the towing officer — a traffic policeman believed to be named Shashank Rane, who was not wearing his name badge while on duty, which is also against the rules of the Maharashtra Police.
Earlier, the cop even grinned and confirmed his name and the woman was also requested to alight from the vehicle before it was towed away, but she refused as she was nursing her child and was unwell herself.
The woman flashed what was a medical prescription from the window and told the videographer that she was sick and was breastfeeding her hungry child, which was visible as the car was towed away mercilessly.
However, despite pleas by the videographer and others to the traffic cop to stop towing as something untoward could happen to both woman and child, he appeared unconcerned and continued speaking over his mobile phone.
The policeman reportedly also claimed to have a video to counter the other side’s version.
The woman said that two other vehicles parked there were not picked and her car was chosen for towing without listening to her desperate pleas.
“They ignored the two other vehicles, but towed away a car in which a woman with an infant was sitting. They don’t have guts to take action against the other vehicles here,” she said from the moving car.
Following strong all-round condemnation, protests and adverse publicity in the social media to the video posted by a user “Rakhi Rakhi”, the Traffic Police Department on Saturday ordered a probe into the shocking incident.