India road safety music video asks parents to hit reckless children

biker kids
Image caption The song takes on reckless young riders

A road safety awareness music video by police in the southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras) asks parents to beat children if they flout traffic rules.

Set to a racy beat and sung by popular Tamil singer Ghana Bala, the video combines footage of reckless youngsters on motorbikes with those of road accidents and funerals.

Police said they wanted a video that would "appeal" to the youth.

India has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world.

The lyrics of the video appeal to parents who buy motorbikes for their children to "teach them not to call Lord Yama" (Hindu god of death) and hit them if they intentionally put their lives in danger.

"Parents have the right to correct their children when they go wrong. They should insist their children obey traffic rules," Chennai police commissioner AK Viswanathan told BBC Tamil's Pramila Krishnan.

He said they felt that couching the message in a music video would help them reach the youth.

Apart from appealing to parents, the song also directly addresses its target audience - asking the youth to wear helmets, not accommodate more than two passengers on a bike and not perform wheelies to impress their friends.

The singer, Ghana Bala, told BBC Tamil that parents had a big responsibility to ensure that their children followed road safety rules.

"Many parents have begun gifting motorbikes and cars to their children while they are still in school. There are some cases of even 10-year-olds performing stunts which is unsafe not only for them but also to others."

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