A journalist in Delhi was allegedly harassed by an Ola cab driver who refused to drive him home, apparently, because it was a Muslim-dominated locality. The incident happened on Sunday at BK Dutt Colony near Lodhi Road where Asad Ashraf had booked a cab to his home in Gaffar Manzil near Jamia University. However, the driver, Ashok Kumar blatantly refused to go saying that he stays away from ‘filthy places like Jamia University’. But when Ashraf confronted him, Kumar took him to a deserted place and threatened him.
“When I sat in the cab, I realised he was going in a wrong direction. Barely after 200-300 metres, he stopped the car at a deserted place and said he won’t go,” Ashraf told InUth.
He later dialled the Ola emergency number after which he was assured of assistance. Ola cabs asked him to stay out of the car as a ‘precautionary measure’. They told him that they’ll send another cab for him.
@Olacabs your driver would have killed me for being a Muslim today. Where are your ethics ? @DelhiPolice . Screenshot of my complaint is here. pic.twitter.com/tXSGFvHcZA
— Asad Ashraf (@AshrafAsad) June 17, 2018
“Main dekhta hoon”
However, amid all this, the driver began calling his friends, asking them to come to the location.
“He threatened me by saying, ‘main dekhta hoon’ (Now, I will see) and then dialled his people. I was really scared as it was a completely deserted place,” he said.
Ashraf then waited for half an hour for another cab which Ola had promised. “I kept calling them, messaging them but nothing happened. They did not send any cabs,” he said.
It was then when Ashraf realised that it would be better to act on his own. He ran towards Jor Bagh metro station and called his friend for help. In the meantime, the driver also sped away.
‘Police took the case lightly, Ola didn’t help’
At Jor Bagh, a few police personnel came to his ‘rescue’ and asked him to file a formal complaint. “They took the entire incident very lightly. I waited there until my friend came to pick me up. He later dropped me home safely,” he said.
Ashraf says that he is more anguished by the way Ola Cabs handled the issue. They later called him to apologise and assured him that they’ll dismiss the driver. “Firing the driver isn’t the solution. Why didn’t they send another cab which they had themselves promised? Imagine what would have happened if it was a woman instead of me,” he asked, adding that he plans to pursue the matter legally.
This was Ola Cabs response to Ashraf:
Read More: More Cancelled Bookings & Islamophobia: What It Means To Be A Muslim Cab Driver
‘Larger issue is everyday harassment’
But for Ashraf, dealing with cab drivers who are reluctant to go to Jamia Nagar, is a common affair. He always has to end up convincing them. However, he says the larger issue is the everyday harassment which people face because of their religion.
“I always have to tell the cops that I am a journalist so that they take things seriously. But what about the common people who are subject to these forms of harassment every day? Not everyone is as privileged as me,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ola Cabs responded to the allegations assuring that it will never allow any sort of discrimination.
Specific to the shocking Incident that happened last night, we have off-roaded the driver. Ola, like India, believes in secularity & will never allow any sort of discrimination amongst its customers & driver partners. We stand by our customer & deeply apologise for the incident.
— Ola (@Olacabs) June 18, 2018