I have booked his cab using the mobile app of the company. Their is another company like Uber that provides very fast cab booking for its customers through their mobile app. In fact calling the helpline may not get you a cab but booking through their app will.
When customers are given so much of convenience, no wonder why everyone tries to book these cabs and the ever increasing fleet sizes of such cab companies in cities like Bangalore prove that this business is still not saturated. Their demand increases in the nights of New Year eve or such party nights when the entire city comes out on streets and youngsters find their way to one party or the other in the city.
Unlimited drink is one major component in all such parties. Most of the prominent cities follow strict rule of prohibiting drunken driving and punishing the offenders for violating the same is the reason the city revellers find it better to book these cabs. Most of the cabs are independently owned by the drivers themselves and they just tie up with such companies to provide their services. Without proper background verification of these drivers, the security of passengers becomes a big concern. But are these drivers the only reason we need to worry about? These drivers also have their stories to tell but no one is ready to hear them out today.
Let’s give the cab driver a name – Guru.
He narrated his New Year eve experience this way -“Saab, Bangalore has become very bad. I can’t think of what is happening. Today, before I picked you up there was another booking from a different part of the city for one of the IT parks. I picked up the girl from her house. Her husband and daughter waved her bye, while her husband told her daughter to say bye to her mummy as she was going to her office. I reached the tech park and from there another guy have boarded the cab and they asked me to take them to his house. They released me there and then I understood she didn’t want to go to her office at all. Probably she didn’t even have any office, but she was cheating her husband and her child. This city has become very cruel sir. Just think about the child, what she will think about her mother if she ever comes to know this”.
I understood that he was worried about degradation of moral values of Indian women that was once a matter of pride for Indians. Mother was considered to be the most valued relation and someone next to god with impeccable honour and highest degree of respect. But I felt that what his customers did was none of his business. So, when I told him that it was none of his business to lookout for what his passengers were doing and to ensure that they remain moral always, he told me the real problem that I could not understand initially. “Sir, what will happen if tomorrow the husband complains that I have taken his wife elsewhere and has done something wrong, who will be responsible? I will be sent to jail first.”
I was shell shocked after hearing this. I realized that by the time he proves his point, he will be tortured in jail for confessing a crime he never committed and the entire nation and probably the world will wake up to demand his death penalty.
He continued his saga with his experience from last year’s New Year’s eve party.
“Sir, my cab was booked from UB City (a favourite party hotspot for Bangaloreans) to JP Nagar 6th Phase. Security people called me inside UB city as the girls were heavily drunk and were not even able to walk. They were almost unconscious. Security fellows brought them (three in total) till my cab. Two of them occupied the rare seats and other one took the front seat. All were almost unconscious and they fell asleep as soon as they boarded my cab. The security guy told me to take them to JP Nagar but no address was given to me. I thought I would get their address when I reach there. But when I reached JP Nagar, I asked them multiple times about their address but no one woke up. I didn’t know what to do and hence I called up my company and asked if I could put on the AC and sleep in the cab while I wait for them to wake up.”
“Sir, they were so skimpily dressed that any other driver would have done something. I was completely at a loss. I didn’t even know what to do. It was 2 am and that area was completely deserted. Sir, I was so scared that anyone else if found me there with three unconscious girls, would have thought something completely different and beaten me up or sent me to jail. Saab, this is the reason I don’t want to take women at night. They will do whatever they want and all blame will be ours.”I was curious to know the end of his last year’s story, so he continued.“Sir, I have slept in my cab till next morning, until they woke up. Then they told me their address and I took them there.”“But what about your business loss? Did they compensate you for that?”
“Sir, who wanted to ask for compensation for business loss at that time? I was so scared, I just wanted them out of my cab. What if they had complained against me? I would have been sent to jail.”
His stories left me spellbound. Our cab drivers have suddenly become so insecure today. They do not have any safety. So I gave him a solution to his problem next time he faces such drunkards.I told him to go straight to the nearest police station of the address told to him and narrate the complete incident and let the police find out girls’ address. I have also advised to call women’s helpline and narrate such stories immediately when these happen. Let these agencies do their work in keeping drunkards safe. Additionally, I had advised him to give this advice to all other cab drivers and companies so that tomorrow they don’t get falsely accused.
His stories tell us that Indian cab drivers are very much unsafe at their workplaces today, and no one including their own companies is bothered. Whenever such accusation of any sexual crime is levelled, these poor men face extreme cruelty from society, media, police and judiciary.
We have seen that in Uber case the driver was beaten up by angry advocates in the court premises. The advocates who were supposed to bring justice, who were supposed to not believe in any prejudice are creating prejudices themselves today. Otherwise, why should they beat up an accused on first day of his appearance in courts? Does this not show that even our legal system creates its own opinion about every case when it starts and the justice is delivered based on presumptions and not based on actual facts of a case or evidences produced?
Recent research by National Law University (NLU) proved that in cases of India’s death row convicts, justice was denied to everyone. In most such cases their confessions were obtained by applying force by police and in all the cases there were no direct evidence. Rich and influential accused of similar crimes were let out by courts whereas the poor men were targeted and given death penalty. It shows us that we are far from calling ourselves a civilised nation today.
This also raises the question that whether the Uber driver’s confession was also obtained in such manner? Everyone knows about police atrocities and such offenders get most of it. They don’t die of the torture but they wish to die every moment because of such police atrocities. They are forced to confess to a crime that they probably had not committed. And no one bothers about their wives, children or families. Their families are abused even by defence advocates and literally finished in all aspect.
Another shocking perspective to this is when women’s commission issues directives to force cab companies to compulsorily accept bookings made by women. On one hand when these drivers are not made safe from such unruly women and on the other hand they are made vulnerable to death penalty by an agency paid by the hard earned income of the same men.
Today, the only remedy to cab companies is to install CCTV cameras inside these cabs and employ women drivers. Even women’s commission proposed the same but the question remained when even male cab drivers are not safe from criminals, will the women drivers be safe? Today, crimes against male drivers are not seen in news because crime against men never generates business in any form for any related agency. It is only crime against women that matters, that generates votes and business too. If women cab drivers are introduced, we will see another category added to the list of crime against women and that will never resolve the main issue.
Problem in India is we have created huge gender bias by segregating crime based on gender. For this foolish approach India now needs to pay a huge price by unsuspecting innocent common men. Because in this country even when Uber driver becomes a criminal on mere allegation, nobody ever demanded death penalty for Tarun Tejpal so far.
Indian laws are made only to loot India’s poor and peace loving citizens, all of whom are extremely important for survival of the rich and influential but are never heard off in any platform.
By: Partha Sadhukhan