Earlier this month, an auto-rickshaw driver from Delhi was winning hearts all over the internet. And the reason was that he refused to take money from women who returned home late at night from work. Why? Because getting them home safely was his first priority.
However, in the city of joy, Kolkata, another auto-rickshaw driver was doing the exact opposite by assaulting his female passenger.
According to the Times of India, three friends, Ajay Naskar, Jalal Ali Mollah and Sabed Ali Molah, were chatting in front of a tea shop near Eden Court grounds at around 10 p.m. That’s when Naskar heard some muffled crying. He said,
“I had walked down a few metres, when I saw an auto going towards the end of the field, an area dark and deserted. I found it suspicious. I was even more startled by what I thought was a cry for help from presumably a woman in that auto. I came back to the tea stall and discussed it with my friends.”
Naskar’s initial attempts to convince his friends that he had heard a woman crying, was dismissed by Jalal. However, after seeing how anxious Naskar was getting, they decided to look into the situation. Jalal said,
“On seeing his anxiety, we agreed and took a bike there. We had suspected the auto driver might’ve gone there for a drink, but on approaching the auto, we could hear a woman crying for help. As we rushed to the spot, we were shocked to see the driver assaulting the woman.”
Without thinking twice, the three pulled out the auto driver and warned him to avoid making any attempts to run away.
Once the auto-rickshaw driver was confronted, he tried to pass off the whole thing as an “argument over fare”. However, the three locals weren’t interested in his side of story. Naskar said,
“The survivor could hardly speak and seemed to choke. I offered her water and she told us about her ordeal.”
She told the three that she had boarded the auto at Salt Lake to go to her Kestopur home. However, the auto driver took her on a different route, saying that there was a traffic jam on VIP Road.
The accused, Subhajit Nag, even tried to brush this whole incident under the rug by asking the three to “settle the matter amicably”. But Sabed said,
“I told him we might be poor but we respect the law. I called up the New Town police station and a sub-inspector, along with an ASI, arrived. The cops asked us to be witnesses and we agreed. This is, after all, our responsibility.”
We started this year with the harrowing rape cases at Kathua and Unnao. And we’re about to end 2018 and apart from the rise of the #MeToo movement and a few rare examples of bravery, India’s approach towards women is still regressive. So, while we should laud these men for being helpful, we should also remember to stay safe and look out for each other.