Amid nationwide protests against Citizenship Amendment Act in the country, taxi aggregator company Uber came under the scanner on Thursday after one of its drivers on overhearing a phone conversation of a passenger called the cops to "turn in" and denounced him as a "communist".
CPI-ML member and activist Kavita Krishnan took to microblogging site Twitter, sharing screenshots of a conversation between her and poet Bappadittya Sarkar, who was the passenger during the incident. The poet, hailing from Jaipur, was in Mumbai as he was invited to read his work at the Kala Ghoda Festival.
According to the screenshots shared by Krishnan, Sarkar was on his way home when he was having a telephonic conversation with his friend, discussing the current scenario of protests and how people were uncomfortable with "Laal Salaam". Ten to 15 minutes into the ride, the driver asked if he could stop at an ATM but came back with two policemen. The driver asked the cops to arrest Sarkar, as he had recorded proof that the poet was a "communist" and had plans to make a "Shaheen Bagh in Mumbai".
Last night, poet @Bappadittoh had a scary episode in Mumbai, at the hands of an @Uber driver and @MumbaiPolice cops (see screenshots): a glimpse of scary India under NPR NRC CAA, where every person will be incentivised to suspect & turn in others & police can harass everyone. pic.twitter.com/OOKUB58BxK
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) February 6, 2020
The police then proceeded to question Sarkar, asking him about his background — where he was from, where was he staying. They pointed out at his 'dafli', purportedly advised him to not carry it, saying "Abhi mahual karab hai, kuch bhi ho sakta hai" (Things are bad right now, anything can happen).
The police proceeded to then take a statement from both Sarkar and the driver. The driver kept arguing with Sarkar accusing him of "destroying" the country. The driver also warned Sarkar, saying, "Be thankful I took you to the police, I could have taken you elsewhere."
Uber India soon took notice of the tweet and responded to the Twitter thread, terming the incident as “concerning”.
This is concerning. We'd like to address this on priority. Kindly share the registered details from which the trip was requested via Direct Message. A member from our safety team will get in touch with you at the earliest. https://t.co/1WqzzOmdKe
— Uber India Support (@UberINSupport) February 6, 2020
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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2020 14:18:29 IST