November 28, 2017
THE COVAI POST EXCLUSIVE
NRI youth K.Ragupathi’s death caused reportedly by a giant-sized encroaching arch put up by the AIADMK cadre for MGR centenary celebrations on the busy Avinashi Road in Coimbatore has triggered a public outrage.
It would have passed off as one of the many fatal accidents had some of the active and socially-conscious young social media users of Coimbatore not reacted and spread the word soon after the incident happened in the wee hours of Saturday.
Hence, Coimbatore woke up to the shocking death of Ragu, a 32-year-old software engineer who had come down to his native Coimbatore on a short trip to finalise his marriage alliance.
The anger and frustration among the youngsters about the illegal hoardings, banners and arches occupying the road space and claiming precious lives is palpable and evident in the large white-lettered question “WHO KILLED RAGU?” written right on the spot where Ragu lost his life.
This question found painted in signs on the national highway on Sunday morning created a sensation and helped take forward the campaign against hazardous intrusions, that is killer hoardings, on public roads. The corporation and the city police were caught unawares. The social media and national media picked it up and the issue heated up so much so that the painted signs of ‘Who Killed Ragu?’ became the mascot for all those wanted justice for Ragu and these illegal hoardings to go away.
Very soon, the question asked in the official circles was who dared to write down such a question on the ever-busy road. Even before the police could lay their hands on the CCTV footage to zero in on the painters of signs, a young professional out of social interest walked into the Peelamedu police station on Monday to “bring to the knowledge” of the cops about two more illegal structures on the same road that pose threat to road users.
True to their nature, the khaki-clad policemen grew suspicious and started enquiring the youth as to whether he was the painter of signs. The young man did not want to suppress the truth. He admitted it was him who was responsible for the act. He called up his friend, also a professional, who assisted him on writing it out on the killer road and asked whether he can reveal his name. The other young man too was not for concealing it. He gave his nod. The duo appeared at the Peelamedu police station on Tuesday morning and the enquiry went on for half-an-hour. They gave a written statement to the police admitting that they phrased the question and wrote it on the accident spot out of anger. A higher official offered them a friendly advice and let them go.
“The police officer told us in a friendly manner that we should not write on the road without permission. He told us that it is not wrong to question and only the route we took to question was wrong. He understood that we were two frustrated youngsters who do not belong to any organisation or owe any political allegiance or in anyway known to Ragu but terribly upset over his death,” one of the painters of signs told The Covai Post.
So, what triggered them to take such a route? “We wanted to create some awareness (about such structures which pose danger to life and property). Since we thought that there can be no legal remedy to the menace, we hit upon this idea and executed it,”he said.
Okay, when did they write it out on the road? “At about 4 am on Sunday,”he said.” So, why did they appear before the police? “We read in a newspaper that police are looking out for the persons who wrote it. So, we decided to tell them that we were responsible,” he said.
Did they not know that it amounted to defacement of public property just as the arch and hoardings are a serious violation of GO and Madras High Court order? “We were aware. We were so angry that what can happen to Ragu can happen to anyone. Hence, we did that out of despair,” the youngster said.
What the duo did not expect was that it would become the highlight of the whole issue over illegal hoardings and Ragu’s death, though the police claim that it was a rogue tipper truck that killed the software engineer.