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Gangrape and murder by Ola drivers in Kolkata raises alarm on safety of app-based taxis again

Sindhu Kashyaap
1st Sep 2016
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As we get into a lull and begin to believe that the world is becoming saner and calmer, things end up becoming messier and murkier. In the most recent and rather appalling incident – two Ola drivers in Kolkata have gangraped and strangled to death a 12-year-old girl. Reports suggest that the girl’s body was thrown over a bridge.


WomenSafety

A tweet by ANI News said that the two cab drivers have been arrested:

A report by CNN-News18 said that the accused have been arrested and they even confessed to picking up the girl from the footpath when they were drunk. The drivers told the police that they were looking for some ‘merriment’ and after killing the girl, the drivers - Shankar Shaw and Guddu Singh - threw her body into the canal below Park Circus Flyover.

Reacting to the news, Ola immediately issued a statement. However, it called the rape and murder a case of “alleged misbehaviour”. It said:

We are saddened by the reports of the alleged misbehaviour of a driver in Kolkata. On preliminary identification of the cab details shared by authorities, we have suspended the account associated with this cab with immediate effect. As per our records, this incident has not occurred while on the Ola platform. We will work with the authorities to share any information that will help support their investigation.

This isn’t the first time that such a report has been filed against an Ola or Uber driver. In December last year, a woman passenger was raped by an Ola driver in Delhi who even threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone.

In May this year, a Belgian national was molested by an Ola driver in Delhi. And how can anyone forget the incident where an Uber driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, raped a woman in Delhi in December 2014.

Today, with the growing convenience that cab aggregators provide, news of this magnitude again brings to question the safety and security of passengers, especially women. It is interesting to note that a few months back, the cab aggregators and the government authorities were at loggerheads for some of the rules the government had imposed.

The state governments had requested for complete police verification of every driver on the Ola and Uber platforms. One of the main reasons for this was to ensure women’s safety. However, such incidents clearly show that much more efforts need to be put into the safety aspect. According to the new rules, every cab is required to have a panic button, but little has been said on the response time in dire situations and cases like these.

 

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