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Residents fear for loved ones as violence on streets surges

Tension grips Magarpatta residents, middle-aged Ritika Singh and her mother-in-law Anandi Gaur, as soon as family breadwinner Ninad Gaur leaves for work every morning.
The fear of an accident has taken a backseat. Now, the possibility of Ninad falling victim to a road rage incident worries them much more. Ritika, Ninad’s wife, said, “So many serious cases have taken place over trivial issues recently in the city, which was earlier so peaceful.

Until he reaches his workplace and messages confirming the same, we are not at peace. The same thing happens when he is returning. Each day, we ask him to be patient and not indulge in any altercations, even if someone hits his car.”
Pune is frequently bearing witness to disturbing incidents of road rage, leaving many residents in constant stress.
For example, the mother of NIBM Road resident Sirish Singh is insistent that he chant a prayer all the way to office and back. The bank official, whose office is on DP Road, shared, “I get impatient easily and the traffic snarls, besides wrong-side driving, get me very angry. I have gotten into altercations with bikers, who don’t respect regulations. Due to them, those following rules suffer. My mother is very religious and just wants me to be safe. I understand. But the authorities need to do more.”

Sinhagad Road resident Yamini Tathawale has a similar set of standing instructions from and for her husband. “We both leave for work at the same time and tell each other to stay patient en route. While he goes to Hinjewadi, I head to JM Road. Constant messages and calls are exchanged between us while returning home. He has asked me to take an autorickshaw or cab if traffic is bad,” said Yamini, who works in a study centre.
Numerous road rage incidents have cropped up in recent months. In October, a PMPML driver, enraged after an altercation with a car driver, reversed his vehicle amidst traffic on SB Road, damaging three vehicles. In another case in the same month, the bodyguard of a businessman shattered the windscreen of a private bus and even fired a shot at the driver, after assaulting him on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.

A senior officer with the Pune traffic police said being obedient and patient while commuting is the key. “A lot of infrastructural work goes on all the time on roads, leading to traffic jams. People should realize and accept that this can’t be avoided,” the officer told TOI.
But Harshad Abhyankar, director, Save Traffic Movement, said, “The road rage trend is a serious problem, which is more psychological in nature,” Abhyankar said.

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