A taxi driver sustained serious injuries while as many as 40 auto-rickshaws were damaged on Friday in a clash between three-wheeler drivers and the web-based taxi operators at the Chandigarh railway station.
A mob comprising auto-drivers and residents of Darua village allegedly also thrashed cab operators inside the premises of Government Railway Police station, however, the GRP officials claimed that the clash took place near the parking outside the railway station.
The conflict between the web-based cab operators and auto-rickshaw drivers had been simmering for long, which turned bloody on Friday.
Due to the clash, passengers at the railway station faced hardships as three-wheelers and taxis were not avaialble for commuting.
According to the police, at about 11 am, a group of OLA cab officials and some auto-drivers started arguing over ferrying passengers from outside the railway station. Soon, a fight ensued between the groups. The police intervened and controlled the situation. A parking lot attendant, Baljinder, suffered minor injuries in the incident.
Speaking to HT, a GRP police official said, “Some officials of OLA cabs and auto-drivers were taken to the GRP police station to settle the dispute. Around 12.30 pm, a mob of auto-drivers and Darua residents carrying wooden sticks and iron rods entered the police station and started thrashing the cab operaotrs. The situation went out of control when the two-groups started pelting each other with stones and damaged property including some cabs.”
BOTH SIDES TRADE CHARGES
In complaint to the police, Rajesh Kumar, president of the Tricity Taxi Operators Welfare Association, said, “The autodrivers bribe GRP, who then unnecessarily harass us and ask for bribe to let us continue to do the business. On Thursday, auto-drivers stopped one of our cab-drivers and thrashed him for taking a passenger from the railway station. We approached them on Friday for a compromise, but they started fighting. When we had gone to the GRP station to lodge a complaint, a group of about 100 auto-rickshaw drivers barged into the station and attacked us.”
However, countering their complaint, Railway Station Auto and Taxi Union president, Happy, said, “A group of about 40 cab-officials confronted us, saying we were stopping them from plying their cabs at the railway station. Without provocation, they started thrashing us.”
TWO CASES REGISTERED
Taking up the complaints of both sides (web-based cab operators and auto-rickshaw drivers), the GRP registered two separate cases. However, no arrests had been made till the filing of the report, as the cases were registered against unidentified people.
“We have registered two separate cases of rioting, damaging property, causing injuries against unidentified persons. There is only one person, Gurmel Singh, who has been injured,” said Suresh Kaushik, DSP, GRP, Ambala Cantt.
TAXI OPERATORS TO HOLD PROTEST TODAY
To protest against the attack, president of the Tricity Taxi Operator Welfare Association Rajesh Kumar said, “We will be holding a silent protest on Saturday. All our 200 cabs would be parked at the station.”