KOCHI: There have been earlier reports about misbehaviour towards auto passengers and criminal activities of auto drivers. About two years ago, a couple was brutally attacked by auto drivers in front of a surveillance camera.
Even with the assistance of videos from the camera, it took several days to nab the driver. Last year, similar incidents of attack by auto drivers were reported from various parts of the city. “There are several auto drivers who work for quotation gangs and engage in criminal activities. A good number of auto drivers consume liquor and operate at night. There were also reports that many autorickshaws were owned by policemen. But there has been no investigation about these issues. Auto drivers with a criminal background often refuse to operate with fare meter,”police officials said.
Meanwhile, R Nishanthini, Deputy Commissioner of Police, said that the attack on the journalist was an isolated incident and that police have taken all the measures to prevent such incidents. She said that the only resort for passenger in such situation is to call 100 and inform the officials. “Since I took charge as the Deputy Commissioner here, this is the first case of a passenger being attacked by an auto driver. Such cases are taken seriously and required action will be taken. Usually we receive complaints regarding misbehaviour from auto drivers who refuse to operate fare meters. We look into such cases seriously and auto drivers are penalised,”she said.
Syamandabhadran of the autorickshaw drivers union said that strict guidelines regarding proper behaviour with passengers have been given to auto drivers. “We also condemn such incidents and criminal auto drivers will not be permitted to work in the city.
I have asked our union members to conduct an inquiry. If the driver who attacked the journalist belongs to our union, action will be taken against him,”he said.