PANAJI: Goa in its reply to Goa Commission (GHRC) said apprehensions and allegations aired by MLAs against the scheme are nothing but figments of imagination based on hearsay. The police, in its reply filed through DGP Muktesh Chander, said the commission may like to examine the MLAs regarding specific instances based on which their allegations have been made.

Stating that photographing girls without their consent amounts to a violation of fundamental human rights of an individual, GHRC had issued notices to the chief secretary, transport secretary and DGP asking for detailed reports on the traffic sentinel schemes. The GHRC’s move had come after MLAs had alleged that traffic sentinels clicked photos of girls and provided the same to pimps.

“Till date no complaint of misuse of photos clicked by traffic sentinels has been received by Goa police. The allegation is based on hearsay only,” the police said in its reply.

Chander said it is not possible to import photos and videos from external sources like mobile gallery, and CCTV on the traffic sentinel app. Most importantly, photos clicked through the app are not stored in the mobile gallery as a standard feature, the DGP said.

Public authority can’t function without public assistance: Cops

He said, the commission that all photos or video clicked via the app are directly uploaded on the server, thus ensuring that those are not available for any malafide intentions like morphing, uploading on social media, etc.

The police said the photos clicked are of traffic violations committed in public places, therefore the question traffic sentinels intruding people’s privacy does not arise. The grievances of misuse of photos are imaginary. “The Goa traffic sentinel app cannot be used for clicking photos of girls with any malafide intentions. In fact, it is pertinent to note that most of the photos clicked by traffic sentinels are from the rear side, as revealed by a random survey of 100 photographs,” the police said.

The DGP also countered the allegations saying CCTV cameras are being installed everywhere across the country — from malls to railway stations — and the movement of girls are being recorded without their consent. Print and visual media personnel also shoot photos and video of women at public places like markets, beaches, etc, they said.

“No public authority, including police, can discharge its functions without the active involvement and assistance of the general public,” the police said.

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