The common man has long suffered due to VIP culture. A recent incident of a stadium being shut before time so an IAS officer could ‘walk his dog’ has brought the debate back to the fore. But there have been worse incidents due to the menace, reported over time.
While courts and the public have often questioned such recurring incidents, they continue to happen. News18 takes a look at 10 such cases in the past:
1) When the country went into lockdown, many, mostly the poor, suffered due to travel restrictions. However, the daughter of a BJP MLA in Bihar, who was studying in Kota, Rajasthan could return safely after her influential father got special permission from the authorities to travel to Kota and bring her back, reported the Print.
2) People are “frustrated” with the VIP culture, especially in temples, a Madras High Court bench said in March this year, and issued a series of orders regarding special darshan at a well-known shrine in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Justice S M Subramaniam said during a hearing on a case about the famed Arulmigu Subramania Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur, Tuticorin district, that VIP admission should be limited to themselves and their family members, but not relatives, reported the Times of India.
“There can be no argument that some people deserve special darshan. However, such treatment is reserved only for the special offices which the persons are holding, but not for the individual per se. In most developed countries, the state protects only few at the top position, that is, constitutional dignitaries and the rest is to manage its securities. Certain special privileges shall not come in the way of equality of the citizens,” the judge noted, adding that ‘God alone is the VIP’.
3) According to a report by the Tribune, at the Chandigarh railway station, VIP culture is still alive and well. A separate VIP lane has been established that connects to the station’s main entrance and forbids private vehicles from entering, lowering the width of the adjacent lane for the general public. According to the Government Railway Police, the purpose of creating a distinct lane for VIPs is to ensure their safety and the smooth flow of traffic at the station’s main entrance.
4) In 2016, Kailash Chand, a resident of east Delhi, experienced a heart attack. Arvind, his son, attempted to bring him to the hospital but was halted by police near Geeta Colony Pul, which had been closed and traffic redirected, the Hindustan Times reported. Arvind implored with the security personnel to let him go as time passed, but they refused. Chand’s auto-rickshaw then wound its way through Mori Gate and ITO, halting at various lights before arriving at the hospital. They travelled an hour and a half to get to Lok Nayak hospital, which is barely 10 minutes away. Chand passed away on the way. The police told Arvind there was “a lot of VVIP movement” in the area as part of the Independence Day dress rehearsal, and they couldn’t let them through.
5) In 2017, the footage of an ambulance carrying a bleeding child being stopped for a few minutes after the route was barred for VIP transit in the Central District region went viral, sparking outrage. The video, which went viral on social media, showed a youngster laying on a stretcher in an ambulance in the middle of a traffic bottleneck, with a few onlookers trying to persuade police officers to let the ambulance through. People are heard saying in the two-minute film that a child’s life is more important than a VIP’s movement. The Indian Express report said the incident occurred outside gate 14 of the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, which is located near IP Estate. According to police, the route was closed to the public because Malaysia’s chief of state was scheduled to travel through.
After the outrage, police said its officers followed protocol. According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) MS Randhawa, and it took a few minutes for authorities to let the ambulance through. The ambulance was also escorted by police officers from the back of the traffic to the barricade, according to him.
6) In 2010, a patient died while being driven to a hospital as the then prime minister Manmohan Singh’s route was sanitised. The patient died in an ambulance after being stuck as the prime minister’s path was sanitised. Anil Jain, the victim, had complained of chest trouble on Sunday afternoon. Jain was taken to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital by his relatives, but there was no pacemaker available to treat him. Jain’s relatives then proceeded to GB Pant Hospital, but were stopped near Rajghat due to Singh’ motorcade passing through. They claimed to have dialled the police emergency number 100, but received no assistance. Only until then PM Singh’s cavalcade had passed was the ambulance able to move. But it was too late for Jain by then. He passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
7) People expressed outrage earlier this month after authorities asked citizens to change their travel plans, a day earlier, due to VIP movements in Bengaluru. “Commuters travelling to and from Kempegowda International Airport on Tuesday (May 3) between 11.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. are urged to adjust their travel plans owing to traffic congestion caused by dignitaries’ movement,” a tweet from the North Deputy Commissioner (DCP) said. The public is politely asked to cooperate, it added. The public reacted angrily to the advise on social media, with some calling it “VIP culture” and others wondering how they could modify their travel arrangements so quickly.
8) In July last year, an ambulance carrying a chronic patient was stalled in traffic for a long period at Masab Tank junction due to Hyderabad Traffic Police stopping vehicles to grant clearance to a Minister’s convoy. On social media, a video showing a siren-blaring ambulance stalled in traffic, followed by one of its medical staff personally approaching the traffic constable and an argument between them, went viral. As traffic was halted for the VIP movement, netizens on Twitter and other social media platforms questioned the Traffic Police for not allowing the medical emergency vehicle to pass the signal, the Indian Express reported.
9) In 2017, an ambulance was stopped for almost 15 minutes on Queen’s Road in Bengaluru when police obstructed traffic to let then Home Minister G Parameshwara’s convoy to pass. Traffic policemen stopped Queen’s Road after a meeting at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office to allow G Parameshwara’s convoy to pass. In the meantime, an ambulance en route to Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital was stopped in traffic. Deccan Herald reported that the ambulance was transporting a 60-year-old patient from a private hospital after suffering a heart attack.
10) According to a recent report by TBS, a schoolboy, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital in Madaripur’s Kathalbari Ferry Ghat, due to a three-hour delay in ferry movement while the ferry waited for a ministry joint secretary.