Auto drivers vow to protect women

Self-regulation

Auto drivers vow  to protect women

The Delhi gang-rape victim may be no more, but her sordid tale has shaken the conscience of auto-rickshaw drivers in Bihar’s capital who have voluntarily pledged to take a few steps that would not only protect a girl/woman’s dignity but also ensure that the trouble-makers are taken to task.

A decision in this regard was taken at the joint meeting of three unions of autorickshaw drivers – Patna Zila Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh, Bihar State Auto Chalak Sangh and Patna Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh. The unions comprise around 12, 000 auto drivers,  including from Patna’s rural belt.The meeting unanimously passed guidelines for every auto drivers registered with the three unions.

The first and foremost was a complete ban on playing of vulgar songs, mostly Bhojpuri numbers, which are not only double entendre but also make women passengers uncomfortable.

The second decision was to issue identity cards to all registered drivers who will have photographs and other details mentioned in it.

Another decision was to distribute pamphlets among drivers about women’s safety. Yet another decision was to ask all auto drivers to keep tabs on any molestation attempt and not shy away from lodging a complaint with the police if someone even misbehaves with a woman passenger.

“The Delhi gang-rape incident has shaken our conscience. We, the auto drivers, are equally concerned about the safety of girls/women travelling in three-wheelers.

Therefore, we have voluntarily framed new guidelines for our fraternity and asked them to take every possible steps to ensure woman passengers’ safety,” said Raj Kumar Jha, general secretary of the Patna Zila Auto Rickshaw Chalak Sangh.The move has been appreciated by different woman organisations. “It’s a commendable step because the government alone cannot provide security to everyone. Each section of society will have to extend a helping hand,” said Bihar’s Minister for Youth Affairs Sukhda Pandey.Among others for whom it has come as a pleasant surprise are the traffic cops of Patna, who, many a times, indulge in a pitched-battle with the very same auto-drivers, who are now into some sort of self-regulation mode.

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