Bengaluru man allegedly beaten up by Uber drivers for insisting on seat belt
Dave Banerjee, a Bengaluru-based advertising professional had just flown in from Mumbai to Bengaluru on Monday night. Like any other commuter, he booked an Uber cab for himself and his three colleagues to go back home.
However, things took a turn for the worse as the night progressed. The 48-year-old was allegedly assaulted by a group of Uber drivers for insisting that the back seat of the car have a seat belt.
Around 9.30pm on Monday, Dave and his colleagues boarded the Uber at the airport. “I was sitting in the back and noticed that the buckle had gone inside the gap between the seat and the backrest, so it wasn’t accessible. I told the driver to stop because I wanted to take out the buckle from the back and wear the seat belt,” Dave told TNM.
The driver apparently kept driving, even after Dave repeated his request twice. Finally, Dave tapped the driver on the shoulder and told him in a raised voice to stop immediately. The driver complied this time, and Dave and his colleagues got out of the car.
While Dave booked another Uber and walked away, the driver allegedly gathered a group after speaking to other drivers in Kannada. “I don’t know what he said but I knew we were in trouble,” Dave says.
He even tried to contact Uber emergency, but he only got “no response needed" in the reply. According to a screenshot of the same tweeted by Dave, Uber's reply reads, “Based on the severity of the incident you have reported, the concerned team is reviewing and will be addressing it on a different trail to ensure necessary actions are taken. I will be closing this thread here.”
“We got into the other cab and started driving. But we saw the driver of the previous cab along with at least 10-15 others stopping and checking all cabs. When they found us, they pulled out my colleagues,” Dave continues.
The group allegedly roughed up the colleagues and tried to drag him out too. “But I held on to the seat belt as I knew they’ll thrash me if I let them take me out. Then for the next 45 minutes, they just kicked and punched me from both the back doors of the cab,” Dave alleges.
Dave says that no one came to help, including bystanders or security, and he was finally able to leave with the help of his colleagues.
While Uber reached out to Dave, he says that he hung up when he received a call from them when he heard the word ‘inconvenience’. “You can’t beat people up and then say ‘sorry for the inconvenience’,” he retorts in anger.
Dave sustained minor injuries on his neck, hand and mouth, and is experiencing difficulty in speaking and eating solid food because of an injured jaw. However, he intends on filing a complaint with the airport police station.
Got beaten up by a mob of 20+ #Uber drivers at #Bangalore Airport last night for demanding seatbelts. Uber SOS said 'we can't help, call the police'. @dkhos @amijain1 @ShaileshSawlani @FreeseChristian @Uber_BLR @UberINSupport @timesofindia @ndtv @BlrCityPolice @CPBlr @firstpost pic.twitter.com/QghDMlgYzX— Dave Banerjee (@DaveBanerjee) November 14, 2017
Uber meanwhile said that they had barred the driver’s access to the Uber app. An Uber spokesperson told TNM, "What’s been described has no place on our app. Safety of our riders is a priority for us at Uber. We have barred the driver- partner’s access to the Uber app. We will support the law enforcement authorities in their investigation and proceedings in any way possible."