A 26-year-old blogger’s seemingly novel approach to understanding the hardships of an average rickshaw-puller’s life brought him in direct, and apparently unsolicited, confrontation with the law at Delhi University’s North Campus on Friday.
Gaurav Jain used to rent a rickshaw from Maurice Nagar. HT Photo
It was just another afternoon for Gaurav Jain, a Dwarka resident who works as a contractual rickshaw-puller as part of his research on their lives thrice a week, till he was intercepted and severely assaulted by a Delhi Police officer outside the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station.
“I was sitting on my rickshaw outside the Metro station when a PCR van screeched to a halt beside me,” said Jain, who has recently obtained a post-graduate diploma in journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and blogs about his experience as a rickshaw-puller on a daily basis.
“Suddenly, an ASI stormed out and without so much as even asking my name, started raining blows on me. When I asked him what the matter was, he mumbled something about a complaint against rickshaw-pullers blocking the road. That was all he said as he kept assaulting me,” the avid blogger said.
Since September 10, Jain has been travelling to North Campus every week, where rents a rickshaw from one of the several garages dealing with these at the adjacent Maurice Nagar area and spends the entire day ferrying people and sharing stories with his fellow rickshawwallahs.
A cycling enthusiast, Jain says his proclivity for the rickshaw was but natural. As natural, he said, as the apparent animosity of the local police towards rickshaw pullers.
“It’s strange how much a person’s professional standing or profile can affect the way the law treats him. I made a PCR call after being assaulted and was taken to the Maurice Nagar Police Station but no case was registered,” Jain said.
Sindhu Pillai, deputy commissioner of police (north) said she was aware of the matter and legal proceedings into the case had been initiated, including against the errant cop.