Ola and Uber drivers have a history of bias against Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, say residents

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net

New Delhi: Thirty-year-old Asad Ashraf, a Delhi-based journalist and activist on Sunday, June 17, a day after Eid-ul-Fitr booked an Ola cab to go back to his residence in Jamia Nagar from BK Dutt Colony in New Delhi. To his shock and surprise, he was forcibly dropped in the middle of the trip as the driver didn’t want to go to the Jamia Nagar as it was a “Muslim” area.

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The Ola driver not only dropped him mid-way but also threatened and intimidated him. When Asad protested, the driver started calling his friends to come to his location.

“I raised an emergency alarm on the app after which an executive from OLA got back to me and ensured immediate action,” Asad wrote on a Facebook post and alleged OLA and Delhi police of taking the matter casually and jeopardizing his security.

“The police also took this very casually and went away after taking the written complaint saying that they have other calls to attend,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Ola termed the incident shocking and claims that it has off-roaded the driver.

“Specific to the shocking Incident that happened last night, we have off-roaded the driver. Ola, like India, believes in secularity & will never allow any sort of discrimination amongst its customers & driver partners. We stand by our customer & deeply apologize for the incident,” Ola tweeted from its official Twitter handle.

The incident has sparked an online outrage against the cab service company with netizens demanding strict action against the driver.

The incident comes months after a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) member, Abhishek Mishra in April 2018 cancelled an Ola cab because the driver happened to be a Muslim. The incident came to limelight after Mishra boasted off cancelling the cab on his verified Twitter account.

History of bias

Masud Ahmed, 24, a civil service aspirant who lives in Shaheen Bagh locality of Jamia Nagar isn’t surprised by the latest incident. He claims that his ride was cancelled many times in the last couple of years by Ola and Uber drivers as soon as they figured out that his drop location was Jamia Nagar.

“It hasn’t happened once, twice or thrice, but countless times in the last couple of years,” Masud told TwoCircles.net. “If you ask them (drivers) for reasons they don’t spell out explicitly but some of them say that they don’t go to that (Jamia Nagar) area,” he added.

Zainab Fatima, a Masters students in Jamia Millia Islamia was also asked many times by cab drivers to cancel the ride and sometimes her pickup deliberately delayed as soon as the drivers come to know that she was travelling to Jamia Nagar or Batla House.

“I won’t say all the drivers but yes a good number among them (Ola and Uber), the moment they hear Jamia Nagar or Batla House, they either cancel the ride themselves or ask me to cancel it. In some cases, they deliberately delay my pickup citing various reasons so that I end up cancelling my trip,” Zainab told TwoCircles.net.

When asked about the reasons for cancellation by the drivers, Zainab says, “The drivers usually say that the roads in the Jamia Nagar localities are dirty, too busy, narrow and sometimes they even say that it (Jamia Nagar) is uncivilized part of the capital.”

Sameer Keen, who is also a student of Political Science in Jamia Millia Islamia and often hires cab service to other parts of the capital has also come across this phenomenon.

“The reasons for not taking trips to Jamia Nagar vary from driver to driver. For some, it is the religion and for others, it is the congested roads, but one thing which is common among all is that majority of them have some prejudices against Jamia Nagar,” Keen told TCN.

Mohammad Aman who lives in Batla House was even denied ride by autos the moment they hear the name ‘Jamia Nagar’.