On camera, Assam Uber driver tries to accuse customer of paying

The incident sparked outrage on social media, with many demanding strict action.

New Delhi:

An Uber taxi driver was arrested today by Assam police for allegedly assaulting a man and attempting to ram him with his car over a dispute over how to pay for a trip. Two journalists – Mohd Abuzar Choudhary and Nikita Jain – said the incident happened while they were traveling in an Uber taxi this morning. Their default payment method on the app was online, they said, and alleged the driver asked for money instead and became aggressive when told he was not not possible to change the payment method once the trip has started. Ms Jain further alleged that the driver beat her colleague with a rod and tried to run him over with his car as they said they would press charges. She also accused the driver of calling them “Bangladesh”.

“We had booked an Uber for Kamakhya in #Guwahati. Online payment was chargeable but he wanted money. Then he got aggressive and beat @MohdAbuzarCh with a cane. When we said we were going to file a complaint, he tried to run over my colleague with his car. He also called us Bangladeshis @assampolice,” she tweeted along with a photo of the driver.

Guwahati Police responded to his tweet asking for details shortly after, and Police Commissioner Hardi Singh personally responded to the tweet saying “action has been taken”.

Another reporter, who says he is friends with Mr Choudhary, tweeted a shocking video where the driver can be seen getting into his car and racing towards someone recording him. The latter moves away quickly but the vehicle still rolls on its foot. The driver then flees.

Uber India responded to the tweet asking for details and promising “necessary action”.

Ms Jain and Mr Choudhary thanked the police on Twitter for the quick response and action.

The incident sparked outrage on social media, with many demanding strict action against the driver.

“Horrible! #Guwahati is ashamed of these people who try to scam or racially stigmatize someone. Strict action must be taken against these motherfuckers under the law of the land. @GuwahatiPol

@Uber_India you have a lot to do and improve the overall driver experience in #Guwahati, do something about it,” Twitter user Tituraj said.

The journalist who tweeted the video also demanded the driver’s dismissal and called on Uber to train its driver-partners in “tolerant and secular” practices.

Glad to see the driver who assaulted @MohdAbuzarCh was arrested by @assampolice after our intervention, @Uber_India

@Uber now please put a layoff on them and train their partners in tolerant practices,” he tweeted.

There have been many complaints from customers about taxi drivers refusing rides if they are not paid in cash. Users who prefer digital payments link their taxi app accounts directly to their banks via credit/debit cards, UPI or other digital wallets. Drivers say money is easier for them due to immediate payments instead of weekly payments by app-based transport companies.

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Elaine R. Knight