Cars belonging to drivers driving for taxi aggregator Uber in Mumbai and Pune have been damaged, the drivers assaulted and their Uber-issed mobile phones snatched away, says a report.
The incident comes two weeks after the San Francisco-based company announced that it would invest $1 billion to expand its operations in India to grow beyond metro cities.
Uber has issued a statement, which says that the violence is politically motivated. Here's an excerpt:
Recently, a few politically motivated groups have publicly threatened to shut down aggregator services. They have called for city-wide strikes and resorted to violence, holding our Uber Mumbai and Pune driver partners to ransom by assaulting drivers, damaging cars, and forcibly taking away company-owned equipment (mobile phones).
Out of fear, thousands of drivers have been forced to stay off the roads, leaving commuters who rely on Uber and such services for their daily travel stranded while depriving honest driver-partners of their earnings.
There is pressure to enforce a rule that would allow the issuance of a Public Service Vehicle badge to only those applicants who:
1. Have lived in the state of Maharashtra for more than 15 years and;
2. Can read and write in Marathi."
This kind of backlash isn't new. As old-school taxi companies try and come to terms with app-enabled cab services, Uber has been clashing with taxi drivers and unions around the world.
Last month, hundreds of French taxi drivers protested against Uber vehicles in Paris. In May, black cab drivers in London halted traffic around the House of Commons to protest unlicensed taxis from new companies like Uber.