Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was on a visit to Mumbai, Maharashtra. During his visit, a video went viral showing that the home minister’s convoy held up an ambulance that had its siren wailing and lights flashing. This prompted outrage on social media outlets with many internet users calling for a probe into this incident.
The Mumbai Traffic Police has put out a clarification explaining that there was no patient in the ambulance that was held up by Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s convoy,
After due enquiry conducted, it has been verified by the traffic official present at the spot that there was no emergency patient in the ambulance & due to defect, the ambulance van driver was unable to switch off the siren.
The allegation is false https://t.co/lhdx2SJQay
— Mumbai Traffic Police (@MTPHereToHelp) September 7, 2022
Eye witnesses don’t buy the Mumbai traffic police’s statement
While the Mumbai Traffic Police has called the allegation of Amit Shah’s convoy holding up an ambulance false, eye-witnesses at the spot where this ambulance was held up present a completely different picture. Jesson Jose, an eye-witness had this to say,
Many are trying to prove that there was no patient. I’m the witness with other mumbaikars. The cop was also trying to convince me that the patient was not serious. Suddenly, no patient?
Mr. Jose has even tweeted about this,
Many are trying to prove that there was no patient. I’m the witness with other mumbaikars. The cop was also trying to convince me that the patient was not serious. Suddenly, no patient? #lifematters #mumbai #roadsafety #emergency #ambulance #andheri #Corruption @fpjindia @ndtv
— Jesson Jose (@JoseJesson) September 7, 2022
VVIP movement in Indian cities is a big problem. Often, convoys that VVIPs – mainly politicians – are part of hold up traffic putting lakhs of commuters to hardship. The latest incident involving an ambulance is a glaring example of how politician convoys hold up traffic. India needs a better system of traffic regulation around politician convoys. One solution is using helicopters wherever feasible. This would prevent commuters and emergency vehicles from being held up, saving millions of hours and liters of fuel. Even lives may be saved if more helicopters are used to ferry VVIPs rather than expensive and cumbersome car convoys.
Most politicians in the west don’t have such convoys
Many politicians including prime ministers and presidents of western democracies do not have such ostentatious car convoys. They prefer to travel in 2-3 car convoys and traffic usually is not regulated for their movement. However, the threat perception to politicians in the west may not be the same as that for politicians in India. This may be a big reason why politician convoys in India are so large.