Bigoted Ola driver refuses to ply to Muslim locality, said strange people live there

Ashraf had booked an Ola cab from B.K Dutt Colony to get to Jamia Nagar but was dropped off midway. When he protested, the cab driver allegedly threatened and harassed him saying that Jamia “was not a place to go.”

New Delhi: A Delhi based journalist Asad Ashraf did not expect to be stranded in a secluded spot on Sunday right after he had attended Eid festivities in the city. He had booked an Ola to go to his house in Jamia Nagar, south Delhi, when the driver took a wrong route and refused to go any further. “Wahan ajeeb log rehte hain,” (Strange people stay there) he said and refused to ply.
Ashraf had booked an Ola cab from B.K Dutt Colony to get to Jamia Nagar but was dropped off midway. When he protested, the cab driver allegedly threatened and harassed him saying that Jamia “was not a place to go.” He had tweeted that the Ola driver would have killed him for being Muslim.

Ola has also made its stance clear and off-roaded the driver.

Ashraf also recounted his entire ordeal for DBPost:
As I sit to write this piece, images from last (Sunday) night when an Ola driver threatened of dire consequences had I not off boarded his cab return to my mind. If the thought of being a victim of harassment scares me so much, I wonder what it would be like for women who are consistently harassed sexually in this male-dominated patriarchal society.
The take away from last (Sunday) night event not only jolts me but also confronts me with the grim realities of the times we are living in where bigotry, hate, and masculinity have become a norm. This is contrary to the idea of India our great leaders had envisioned.
I anticipate that this will ruffle feathers of some ‘hyper-nationalists’, but I wouldn’t hesitate in writing that the idea of our great nation is decaying faster than ever before. Even sadder is that lawmakers, who are supposed to remain sane, go on to make comments that only cause immense harm to the sanity of our society for some petty electoral gains. I see the behaviour of Ola driver not in isolation but as a part of the events unfolding in the country that is polluting everyone’s minds and souls with hatred for each other.
So, here is how I had a first-hand experience of the theatre of hatred and bigotry unfolding every day in our society. A festive season in the profession of journalism brings its own kind of engagements. As a part of this engagement, I had to visit an Eid Milan at Jor Bagh in Central Delhi.
Soon after the event was over, I booked a cab as I do every day for conveyance, at around 9 pm. I strongly anticipated that the Ola cab driver would not be willing to go to Jamia Nagar where civilisation supposedly ends.
So, when I called him to pick me up from the spot, the driver enquired about my end destination (as anticipated by me). He is not supposed to do so according to Ola’s rules and norms. However, out of the fear of being rejected before the ride starts I asked him to drop me to Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University) in South Delhi, which is still considered to be a respectable part of the city. Now minutes later, it was my turn to board the cab and share the OTP with him, which would eventually let him know that he would have to land in an area where modernity ends.

Well, to my surprise, he did not utter a word and straightway pulled the gears and moved from that spot only to stop five minutes later on a secluded road.
As soon as the breaks were applied for the car to stop, I heard a voice causing some shock to me. “Neeche Utar jao (Get down from the car).” Initially, I couldn’t understand what he meant unless he clarified that he doesn’t want to go to Jamia Nagar. On being asked, why? The reply was without any reluctance. “Wahan ajeeb log rehtein hain (Strange people live over there).”
This is to note that Jamia Nagar is one of the most prominent Muslim ghettos in this country, which accommodates former foreign minister to rickshaw pullers.
I was not willing to give in that easily. I protested but only to realise the danger when this driver started calling his friends through his mobile phone to the spot. I raised an emergency alarm on the Ola app but this did not affect the man and he rather threatened me of dire consequences. Soon after, my conversation with him ended, I got out and he drove away leaving me alone on a deserted road.
I was now left to deal with Ola support and Delhi Police who assured me of immediate help but did not bother to answer my calls or reply to my texts even after two hours after the incident took place. The attitude of Delhi police was a grotesque reminder of how we have seen them while growing in Bollywood films, laid back, careless, insensitive. While I am writing this piece, I am still waiting for them to contact me and at least acknowledge that they had indeed taken a note of my complaint. I doubt if that will ever happen.

Amid all this display of hatred, bigotry, communalism, what came as a shock to me is the fraudulent means used by Ola cabs to manipulate my entire case. Soon after the response to my emergency alarm, they blocked my Ola app until I would rate them, which has never been the case earlier. So I was forced to give a two-star rating to the driver who didn’t even deserve to be on the rating parameters.
Ola did not show any concern for the emergency alarm raised by me until I posted about it on social media.
I have just been informed that Ola has terminated the driver for causing all the trouble to them. However, the question that arises is that if this is the solution to the entire issue. Probably no.
The driver was merely a product of hate that we have nurtured in this society. Terminating this driver might be a temporary solution but our long-term goal should be to reform him and many others in his position.
The solution to me is depolluting this society of communalism and the hatred it has caused in our hearts.
In a similar incident in April, a man had tweeted at Ola’s handle saying that he cancelled an Ola booking because the driver partner was Muslim and Ola’s secular response had won praise on social media.




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