More rape survivors speak up against Uber driver

RAMNAGAR (TIP): She is 46 now and Shiv Kumar Yadav, the man accused of raping a finance executive in an Uber cab in Delhi, used to call her ‘chachi’ (aunt). But that didn’t stop him from dragging her one cold December night a couple of years ago to an empty house in their native Ramnagar village to sexually assault her. “It was in the same lane that he used to live,” the woman said, looking for words to articulate her trauma. “Woh mujhe chachi bulata tha. (He used to call me aunt).

My husband asked me to remain quiet about the rape as it would bring shame to the family. He stopped me from going out of my house.” She wasn’t the only one, it seems, who kept quiet. Yadav had raped one more woman, who left Ramnagar unable to deal with the social stigma. That had happened in 2003 and the woman had even filed a case against Yadav. So far, Yadav has been accused of rape by six women, including a Gurgaon bar dancer in 2011 for which he spent seven months in jail before a settlement was reached.

“I am happy that he has been booked, but people in my neighbourhood for long called me characterless,” the 46- year-old woman recounted, surrounded by villagers in her house. “And it has gotten worse after I told my story to the media.” Even as she said this, her husband appeared out of nowhere and slapped her into silence. “Tu kitni naak katayegi? Moonh band nai rakh sakti? (How much shame will you bring us, can’t you keep quiet)” he screamed, pushing her into the small shop they run from the house, selling soaps, namkeen and paan masala to earn a livelihood. Chandramukhi (name changed) said though she didn’t run away, she didn’t speak up either.

“But now I will,” she said, covering her face with her ghoonghat. From Nagla Taar village, close to Ramnagar, she said, “It was in August 2013 that I was raped at gunpoint by Shiv Kumar Yadav. Police took the matter casually and refused to lodge an FIR, but my husband supported me and we managed to report the case.” Talking about the horror of that night, Chandramukhi, now 32 and married 17 years ago in Nagla Taar, said, “I had gone to the dumping ground nearby to throw garbage. He confronted me there and choked me so hard that I could not cry for help. He then took out his gun and threatened to kill me if I didn’t remain quiet.

He raped me, took away my earrings and pendants, pulling them hard, which left me injured. He said, ‘Don’t you dare tell anyone’.” The third woman in the village to speak up was a 23-year-old, whose story perhaps is the most heart wrenching. She was 18 and in the first year of college when she was raped. She soon discontinued her studies and her father got her married in another village. “It feels like you don’t have any rights at all, like you just have to float through everything that is heaped upon you,” she said, sobbing.

Hyderabad Becomes the Second Indian City To Ban Uber

The southern Indian city of Hyderabad banned Uber on December 10, two days after the municipal government of New Delhi executed a similar ban. Hyderabad’s joint transport commissioner T. Raghunath said that Uber’s services in the city, much like in Delhi, were illegal. “Uber has not obtained permission from the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to operate or facilitate taxi or cab services in the city,” he said. New Delhi, meanwhile, has cracked down on all web-based taxi services for flouting transport regulations, and local authorities are urging the rest of the country to follow suit. The Delhi ban followed, but was not related to, an accusation of rape made by a passenger against one of the ride-sharing company’s drivers. The Indian capital’s police have now reportedly summoned Uber’s Asia-Pacific head, Eric Alexander, for questioning about those allegations.

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