No safe city for working women
Close to the second anniversary of the 16 December gang-rape incident, comes the news of the sexual assault of a woman in the capital by a private cab driver. The private taxi company under the scanner is Uber, a multinational cab company that has risen to quick success by using smartphones to connect drivers and riders. The company had received much traction from young professionals after its recent arrival into the Indian market. By all accounts, the woman, a typical Uber customer, was returning home from her office in Gurgaon. Approximately at 9.30 pm, the victim took a cab in Vasant Vihar, a posh locality in South Delhi. On her way home to North Delhi, the cab driver pulled up in a secluded area and raped the victim. Key to the entire sequence of events was that the driver had switched off or deleted the GPS tracking application from his phone. Consequently the app could not be used to trace the vehicle. If Delhi police officials are to be believed, Uber will be held for gross negligence for not subjecting the cab driver to thorough background checks prior to employment, besides possessing an inadequate security infrastructure. However, this view has been contested on the grounds that such verification and checks on the driver’s background are supposed to be done before he receives his commercial license. It is imperative to understand that Uber is entering into a contract with a driver, who Delhi transport and police authorities feel is fit to ferry passengers across the city. Although the accused has been arrested, stepping out at night has just become a lot harder for young professional women in the city.