KOLKATA: At a time when citizens are already suffering from the effects of the pandemic and uncertainty of the lockdown, a section of auto drivers are adding to commuters’ woes with their high-handedness and total disregard for public’s safety. On Tuesday, an auto driver was arrested by the Cossipore police for allegedly misbehaving with a woman passenger and a sub-inspector of the Kolkata Police. The driver — Ali Iman Hossain (27), a resident of Cossipore Road — later secured bail at a Sealdah court.
According to the police, the woman — employed with a bank in Salt Lake — boarded the auto from Cossipore No. 4 bus stand. She was headed towards BK Pal Avenue. Cops said the woman was sitting on the rear seat along with the cop and another passenger. Soon, an argument broke out after the driver charged the other passenger extra fare.
Hossain suddenly stopped his auto and took a U-turn, to which the woman and the sub-inspector objected. The auto driver began arguing with them and took them back to the auto stand at Cossipore. He then opened his mask and threatened the passengers. The woman then called up 100 and cops from Cossipore police station reached the spot within minutes. Seeing the cops and prodded by the auto union leaders, Hossain apologized. The woman said that when she tried to shoot a video of his apology, the union leaders stopped her.
“Hossain engaged in an altercation with the complainant and threatened her with dire consequences, abused her and intended to insult the modesty of the complainant. Moreover, he had not covered his face with a mask, which violated the order of government,” the FIR stated.
Even after this incident though, various traffic guards were hesitant to issue challan to any bus or auto driver charging extra fare, claiming that passengers would have to lodge complaints. “We have not been updated on the exact fares. Hence, it is difficult for us to take action,” said an officer from a south Kolkata traffic guard.