What happens if you put names of gods such as “Ram” and “Dwarkesh” or the names of the ruling party and your community , on the rear number plate of your motor cycle, instead of the number the Motor Vehicles department has issued? Surely, police action would follow, but if you are in BJP-ruled Gujarat you can ride your two-wheeler with impunity. The matter came to the fore after the police in BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh appeared to have accepted the excuse that the truck, which had rammed into the vehicle of Unnao rape survivor and her family members on 28 July, had its number plate blackened to dodge the law enforcers.

Hundreds of bikers in Gujarat have been flouting the traffic signals without attracting penal action with the innovative methods. Having tolerated extreme indiscipline by motorists and bike riders for decades, the traffic police have installed CCTV cameras which click the erring vehicle’s number and send an e-challans to the registered address demanding payment of fines for the violations.

Not to be undone, the vehicle owners ~ mostly the bikers ~ too have responded by removing the rear number plates on which the CCTV cameras are focused after the red light is jumped. Some bikers have just written ‘Ram’ or ‘Dwarkesh’ on their rear number plates while some others have boldly proclaimed their own caste ~ “Proud Patel” ~ or “Thakore” or “Rabari” (cattle-keeper). Admittedly, a semblance of honouring the traffic signal can be seen on the roads now after thousands of people received computerised e-challans along with print-out of the violation. But, then, the bikers too have devised their own way to hoodwink the CCTV cameras. The cops at street junctions are clueless about how to deal with total absence of number plates on the rear side.

The RTO here is already burdened with the task of installing High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) on nearly a million vehicles before the High Court issued the deadline of 31 August.

“Detecting such violations (removing number plates) is the job of police, not us,” assistant RTO (Ahmedabad) SA Mojanidar told The Statesman today. The RTO only registers the vehicles and issues driving licences, added Mr Mojanidar. The removal of rear number plates is happening at a time the High Court has passed strictures against the state for not installing High Security Registration Plates on all vehicles.