OLA Cab molestations: Two separate cases in Mumbai, Bangalore highlight lack of women's safety

Last week, two separate cases of molestations emerged, the common link being that the perpetrators in both the cases were drivers with the taxi-aggregator site Ola Cabs. While one of the cases was reported in Mumbai, the other reportedly took place in Bengaluru. The two cases have once again raised questions about the safety and security of women in both the cities, especially of the workforce which relies heavily on taxi aggregator services. As for Ola Cabs, which was the common link in both the cases, the concerns towards the safety of woman is likely to do more harm to its image more so on a day, when the taxi aggregator is already making news for making nearly Rs 6 crore losses every day during 2015-2016.

Here's some detailed info on the two recent molestation cases that have come to light:

Mumbai Molestation

The RAK Marg police in Mumbai arrested an Ola cab driver on 27 April for kidnapping and molesting a 32-year-old woman from Sewri. According to reports, on 10 April, the accused, Shadabh Mohammad Ibrahim Shaikh, had allegedly coerced a woman to sit in his cab while she was on her way to pick up her seven-year-old son from school.

Representational image

Representational Image. Agencies

“Once the woman sat next to him, the driver pounced on her and asked her to be his friend. He insisted that she give him her mobile number and even snatched her phone. When the woman resisted, Shaikh started the car. She tried to raise the alarm, but realised that he had locked all the doors and rolled up the windows,” an officer of the RAK Marg police told Hindustan Times.

In a bid to escape from the clutches of the cab driver, she grabbed at the car's steering wheel but Shaikh foiled this attempt by overpowering her, the report said. The driver then came to a halt as he got scared on seeing the woman ready to flee a  fast moving car as she had managed to fling the door open in a lucky attempt. After stopping the vehicle, the woman asked the driver to return her cell phone and when he refused, she fled the site, a police told the Hindustan Times reporter.

The police traced the driver through the woman's mobile phone which Shaikh's wife had sold for Rs 500 to purportedly pay for her son’s treatment. The officers from the RAK Marg police force traced the phone to the shop owner once he began using the phone, who in turn told the officials whom he'd bought the phone from.

The accused was booked under sections 354 (assault on woman to outrage her modesty), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 392 (punishment for robbery) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

Bengaluru Molestation

In a report published by The News Minute on Monday, a night out turned out be a terrifying ordeal for a  Bengaluru woman as her Ola cab driver allegedly molested her after attempting to take a detour from her route. On the night of 28 April, the woman, a singer by profession, boarded a silver Ola cab (Tata Indica) around 2.15 am in Koramangala. She was headed for her home in Begur.

The woman tells The News Minute that on reaching the 5 km mark from her house, the driver, Ravi Kumar, allegedly stopped near Kabab Zone on Begur Road. On asking him the reason behind his sudden halt, the driver replied saying that he was going to take a detour. The woman told the driver to follow the map as she had entered the accurate location on the map, yet to her absolute horror, after sitting put for a moment, he suddenly turned around and groped her breast, the report said.

"I tried to push him away but he continued molesting me. I started screaming and I did it really loudly but no one was coming to help me. I then knew that there was no one else to help me and I had to fend for myself. I was panicking but I managed to push him and jump out of the car,” the woman alleged.

She then realised that Ravi Kumar had deliberately chosen a location that was deserted and just ran not paying heed to the direction of her flight. The driver didn't attempt to follow her and sped away from the site. She sought refuge in a clinic in the mean time awaiting a friend to come and pick her up.

She immediately went to the Bommanahalli police station to file a complaint against the accused. On filing the FIR, her friend was met with questions by the police officials probing the genuineness of the victim's case. "Is this how the police treat people who go through the ordeal of molestation?” the women asks.

Although the police did register the FIR, she said that she has been scared to go out alone ever since the incident occurred.

An Ola spokesperson in Bangalore said that they would like to investigate the incident further before making a statement.


Updated Date: May 01, 2017 20:10 PM

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