Uber (Photo Credit: PTI)
An Uber driver on Wednesday took his passenger to cops after he overhears him discussing anti-CAA protests over a phone call. The incident took place on Wednesday night. Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association Kavita Krishnan tweeted about the incident, allegedly involving poet Bappadittya Sarkar.
According to the Krishnan’s tweet, Sarkar took an Uber cab from Juhu to Kurla around 10.30 pm on Wednesday. During the journey he was discussing with his friend on mobile phone people’s discomfort with 'Laal Salaam' slogan at Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi.
Last night, poet @Bappadittoh had a scary episode in Mumbai, at the hands of an @Uber driver and @MumbaiPolice cops (see screenshots): a glimpse of scary India under NPR NRC CAA, where every person will be incentivised to suspect & turn in others & police can harass everyone. pic.twitter.com/OOKUB58BxK— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) February 6, 2020
The driver, who was listening, stopped the cab and told Sarkar he wanted to withdraw money from ATM.
When the driver returned, he had two policemen with him, who allegedly asked Sarkar why he was carrying a 'Dafli' (a percussion instrument), and also asked him his address. Sarkar, as per the statement tweeted by Krishnan, told them that he was from Jaipur, and had visited the anti- CAA 'Mumbai Bagh' protest in the city for "sloganeering" earlier in the day.
The driver allegedly asked the police to take him in custody for "he was saying he was a communist and was talking about burning the country". The driver also claimed he had recorded the phone talk.
Sarkar was then taken to the police station, the statement said, without specifying which station it was.
Sarkar requested the police to listen to the conversation and verify the driver’s claim. The driver allegedly said to him, “You people will destroy the country and do you expect that we will seat looking at you.” Sarkar should be thankful that he took him to police station and not somewhere else, the driver allegedly added.
The police asked him about his ideology and “the people he read”, the statement further said. The police were polite with him and asked both him and the driver to record their statements, it added.
Around 1 am, communist activist S Gohil reached the police station after which Sarkar was allowed to go, the statement added. The police advised Sarkar not to carry the Dafli or wear a red scarf, “as the atmosphere is not good and anything can happen”, according to the statement tweeted by Krishnan.
Krishnan further said in a tweet that this incident was a “glimpse of scary India under NPR NRC CAA, where every person will be incentivised to suspect and turn in others and police can harass everyone”.
She also tagged Mumbai Police and Uber. “We have followed you. Please share the exact details of case in DM,” the police said in a reply to her tweet. Twitter handle `Uber India Support’ said the incident was “concerning”. “We’d like to address this on priority. Kindly share the registered details from which the trip was requested,” it said.