Not a comfortable ride

Not a comfortable ride

Women continue to face all kinds of problems day in and day out on the streets and harassment by autorickshaw drivers tops the list. Most often, such incidents go unnoticed. Women who regularly travel by autos point out that they are often subjected to the crude behaviour of auto drivers, some of whom don’t miss a chance to pass lewd remarks. 

Sharing her experiences, Shaguftah Farheen, a student of St Joseph’s College, says that she and her friends were heading to a party recently and were dressed in shorts and tops as it was the dress code. “We were wearing shorts and the auto drivers kept staring at us. We don’t need to get this sort of reaction just because of the way we dress. I don’t think people should be judged by the way they dress,” she says.

This is no stray incident but something that a lot of women face, especially those who choose to dress in a modern way. Women from the North-Eastern states confess that they too face harassment because of their ethnicity and the way they dress.

Aditi D’Souza, a professional, recollects, “I am most comfortable in shorts and T-shirts. My friend and I were returning in an auto late one evening and after my friend got off, the driver kept asking me uncomfortable questions and stared at me from the rear mirror,” she says.

When this was pointed out to Raghavendra H Auradkar, Bangalore City Police Commissioner, he said, “As per the law, such behaviour, be it from an auto driver or anybody else, will be dealt with harshly. Many a time, girls are the ones to be blamed because they don’t give us a written complaint and tell us what happened. Police can’t act if they don’t get a complaint. We will take appropriate action as soon as any such incident comes to our notice.”

M Manjunatha, president, Adarsha Auto Drivers Union, adds, “This kind of behaviour is immoral. The girls must take a picture of the erring auto driver with their identity cards and report such incidents to the nearest police station or call 100. We should respect women and any auto driver found guilty must be punished under the law.”

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