An Uber cab driver was today arrested by the Assam police for allegedly assaulting a man and trying to ram him with his car over a dispute regarding the payment method for a trip. Two journalists -- Mohd Abuzar Choudhary and Nikita Jain -- said the incident happened while they were travelling in an Uber cab this morning. Their default payment mode on the app was set to online, they said, and alleged that the driver demanded cash instead and got aggressive when told it wasn't possible to change the payment method once the trip starts. Ms Jain has further alleged that the driver beat up her colleague with a rod and tried to run him over with his car when they said they would file a complaint. She also accused the driver of calling them "Bangladeshi".
"We had booked an Uber for Kamakhya in #Guwahati. The online was payment but he wanted cash. He then got aggressive and beat @MohdAbuzarCh with a rod. When we said we will file a complaint he tried to run over my colleague with his car. He also called us Bangladeshi @assampolice," she tweeted along with a picture of the driver.
We had booked an Uber for Kamakhya in #Guwahati. The online was payment but he wanted cash. He then got aggressive and beat @MohdAbuzarCh with a rod. When we said we will file a complaint he tried to run over my colleague with his car. He also called us Bangladeshi @assampolicepic.twitter.com/aNwJFxz9Q9— Nikita Jain (@nikita_jain15) May 28, 2022
The Guwahati Police responded to her tweet asking for details soon after, and the Police Commissioner Hardi Singh personally responded to the tweet saying "action has been initiated".
Another journalist, who says he is friends with Mr Choudhary, tweeted a shocking video where the driver can be seen stepping into his car and speeding towards a person who is recording him. The latter swiftly moves out of the way but the vehicle still runs over his foot. The driver then flees the spot.
Uber India responded to the tweet asking for some details and promising "necessary action". The company also said that it removed the driver's access to the app.
"What has been described violates Uber's code of conduct and has no place on the platform. We have removed the driver's access to the app and are in touch with the rider to provide assistance. We stand ready to assist law enforcement authorities and have informed the rider that he can avail trip insurance to cover medical expenses," Uber spokesperson said.
Ms Jain and Mr Choudhary have thanked the police on Twitter for the prompt response and action.
The incident has triggered social media outrage, with many demanding strict action against the driver.
"Horrendous! #Guwahati is ashamed of such people who try to fleece or brand anyone racially. Strict action must be taken against such buggers under law of the land. @GuwahatiPol
@Uber_India you have much to do & improve overall driver experience in #Guwahati Please do something," Twitter user Tituraj said.
The journalist who tweeted the video also demanded the termination of the driver and called on Uber to train their driver-partners on "tolerant and secular" practices.
"Glad to see that the driver who assaulted @MohdAbuzarCh has been arrested by @assampolice after our intervention, @Uber_India
@Uber now please issue a termination for him and train their partners into tolerant practices," he tweeted.
Glad to see that the driver who assaulted @MohdAbuzarCh has been arrested by @assampolice after our intervention, @Uber_India@Uber now please issue a termination for him and train their partners into tolerant practices #Uber#Assam#AbuzarChowdhryhttps://t.co/3U7XZFgcdkpic.twitter.com/8KFdSYkkAm— Asad Ashraf (@Asad_Ashraf88) May 28, 2022
There have been widespread complaints from customers regarding cab drivers refusing trips if they are not paid in cash. Users who prefer digital payments link their cab-hailing app accounts directly to their banks via credit/debit cards, UPI, or other digital wallets. Drivers claim cash is easier for them because of immediate payments instead of weekly ones by app-based ride hailing companies.