Protesting against private cab aggregators – Ola and Uber – groups of autorickshaw drivers allegedly disrupted the aggregators’ services in Gurgaon on Monday.
According to passengers, the auto drivers halted cabs belonging to these two companies, pulled out the drivers, snatched their car keys and forced the passengers to deboard. The incidents were reported from major traffic junctions and popular spots in the city, including Huda City Centre metro station, Galleria market in DLF City, Iffco Chowk and Ardee City.
An MNC employee, Vedansh Kumar, said in a post on Facebook, “People, avoid using Uber or Ola... Just got stopped by auto drivers, on strike, near Galleria. They stopped the car in the middle of the road and forced the driver to end the ride and then forced me to get out of the car. They announced that any cab seen operating on the road will be attacked and trashed (sic).”
Other residents reported that groups of men were stopping every commercial vehicle on the road and confirming if the driver was associated with the aggregators. While some people had a narrow escape, others were left stranded.
“I was travelling in a company cab when a group of men surrounded us near Ardee City in Sector 52. The men, armed with sticks, pulled the driver out and snatched his keys. When I came out to ask them what the problem was, they simply threatened me of dire consequences if I did not leave the cab. I had to explain to them that the driver was not working for Ola or Uber and only then did they let us go,” said Parul Jaiswal of Sector 57.
A commuter from Delhi, Ankur Sharma, said, “It was around 11am when I was headed to my workplace that my Uber cab was halted. I was forced out of the vehicle while my driver was harassed by some miscreants. It was a terrible experience and I was marked absent at work for the first half of the day.”
Although the auto drivers’ union Haryana Auto Chalak Sangh denied holding any strike or protest against the cab aggregators, some drivers said they were asked to join the auto drivers.
Swades Kumar, a 25-year-old auto driver said, “I was asked by a few men living near my home to join them in stopping the cabs, but I decided against it. More than 50 men were on the road all day harassing the drivers. They kept changing their locations from one spot to another.”
Traffic police officials around Huda City Centre metro station confirmed the unrest.
“We received a complaint from a woman that her cab was halted near the metro station. Police officials reached the spot and bailed the cab driver and the woman out. We warned the auto drivers to not harass the passengers, after which they left the spot,” said Ravi Kalra, zonal officer, traffic.
Uber and Ola representatives refused to comment on the issue.