Mumbai Journalist attacked, abused by female rider in Uber car pool


A Mumbai based journalist alleged that she was assaulted and abused by a lady co-passenger while riding a in a Uber pool in the city. Journalist Ushnota Paul in a series of tweets and a facebook post said the female co-passenger turned “hostile” from the start of the journey and her complaint was that she was paying the most and still getting dropped last. The journalist said she was targeted when she tried to intervene and defend the driver.

The journalist said that though the police swept into action after an FIR against the assaulter was registered, the cab aggregator did not cooperate when police started investigating.

The company later said the incident was “deeply upsetting” and they have “reached out to law enforcement authorities to offer any information that could be helpful in their proceedings”.

Initially, the woman called her names and then “she went completely racist”, the journalist alleged.

Then she banged the hand rest on my bag kept between us and on my hand. And asked me to remove my “dirty things” from her. I still didn’t react. Picked the bag and put it beside the driver’s seat. I guess that must have pushed her to the edge.

I have been physically and verbally assaulted in broad daylight by a complete stranger. The whole back seat of Uber is full of clumps of my hair, I have injury on my face & hands & I’m definitely psychologically scarred. I take Uber twice everyday and yet I know now that I’m not safe

“I tried to click her picture and she immediately snatched it away from me and threatened to break it. I know she would’ve so I didn’t try clicking anymore. Before she got down from the cab, she physically attacked me, grabbed me by my hair, tore off clumps of hair, scratched my face,” Paul wrote in a series of tweets.

I tried to defend myself with both hands trying to protect my face and I got huge scratches there too. I started crying and she hopped off the cab and went inside Urmi estate. A crowd gathered. The guard of Urmi estate came to my rescue and asked me to file a police complaint immediately

According to the tweets, the assaulter escaped into a building in Urmi Estate after she got off the cab. Paul also claimed that Uber refused to divulge details of the attacker to the Mumbai Police citing ‘customer privacy’.

It was almost near Urmi Estate in Lower Parel (where her drop was) when she went completely racist and called me a “chinky” & a “chinky s**t”. I told her it’s racist to which she said “haan toh? Kya Kar legi”.

I have a copy of the original FIR and I will not back down. Think twice before taking Uber. I am shaken and terrified with the whole experience right now. I am done.

In another tweet, she said, “Uber won’t do anything when it comes to my safety. If they don’t respect what the Mumbai Police are saying to them, I am a mere civilian and definitely I am not safe.”

Uber refused to give the woman’s details stating “customer privacy”. The police officer called them in front of me and said there’s a formal complaint against this woman and yet Uber didn’t help. If she’s your customer, so am I.

“What’s been described today is deeply upsetting and is completely against our community guidelines. The co-rider in question cannot access the app. We’ve reached out to law enforcement authorities to offer any information that could be helpful in their proceedings. We stand ready to support their investigation into this incident,” a spokesperson said.

India is supposed to be one of the hostile nation for journalist around 48 journalist have been killed between 1992 to 2018 according to the reports of ‘committee to protect journalist’ The ‘India Freedom Report: Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in 2017’ by The Hoot confirms with data what an alarming year 2017 was for journalists, including photographers and stringers, reporting from different parts of the country. Last year saw 11 journalists murdered, the reason for three of which can be connected to their work, 46 cases of attacks and 27 cases of police action including arrest and cases filed.

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