He assaulted her after she clicked photographs of the number plate
A 22-year-old girl, who frequently travels in autorickshaws and reports errant drivers to the traffic police, was allegedly assaulted by one such driver.
The alleged assault took place on Tuesday around 9:30 pm after she clicked photographs of the number plate. She took the photograph after the driver demanded Rs. 150 for a 2.8 kilometre ride from Nanjappa Circle in Shantinagar to Garuda mall. The driver turned aggressive and demanded that the photograph be deleted.
“When I refused, the driver started clicking my photographs with his mobile. My friend (a male) stood between us, trying to protect me from being photographed, grabbed and assaulted,” she recounted.
A few other auto drivers gathered to support her tormentor. “I boarded another auto, but they prevented us from leaving the spot. One of them got into the front seat and threatened the driver before clicking photos of me sitting in the back seat,” she said.
Following the intervention of a representative of one of the auto unions, her friend and she were asked to flee from the spot. “The entire 15-minute experience was traumatic and scary,” she said.
However, her ordeal did not end there. The next day, she went to report the incident. “The authorities at Ashok Nagar Police Station did not cooperate. One of the officers advised me not to file a complaint and threatened that auto unions may target me,” she alleged. However, she managed to lodge a complaint. “After all the measures to ensure women’s safety, there isn’t an effective redressal system. Several of my friends too have had terrible experiences with auto drivers,” she said. Police officers denied that the girl was ill-treated at the police station. A senior officer of Ashok Nagar police station denied that she was humiliated at the station.
However, the police have only registered a non-cognizable case against the auto driver and failed to register a case for outraging the modesty of a woman (for clicking pictures of the girl). The officer told The Hindu that they would seek legal opinion before filing a case.
It may be recalled that recently a senior IPS officer was booked for outraging the modesty of a woman by allegedly clicking her photos at a coffee shop.
The numerous initiatives, such as Sugama Saavari and Peace Auto, by the traffic police and various organisations do not seem to have had the desired impact as passengers continue to be harassed by drivers. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B. Dayanand said since January this year authorities have booked 3,458 cases of excess fares. “The culprits are asked to pay Rs. 100 as penalty for every offence. We have managed to penalise all the drivers against whom we received complaints,” he said.