Playback singer Sayanora Philip got into a flap with autorickshaw drivers at the Ernakulam North railway station early Friday morning. The auto drivers heckled her for preferring to engage an online taxi, and she gave it back to them.
This was the second instance of a woman passenger being barracked by autodrivers in Kochi in the last fortnight.
The singer arrived at the Ernakulam North railway station by the Malabar Express from Kannur around 3.30 am Friday. “I called an online taxi because I wanted to avoid being charged exorbitant rates for a short trip from the railway station. Though it is difficult to get an online taxi in the early hours, I tried Uber. Luckily, I got a cab and told the driver Hameed to come into the station premises as it was dark outside,” Sayanora said.
”As soon as I got into the cab and kept my luggage inside, three auto drivers came up and started threatening the Uber driver. ‘How dare you enter the compound?’ they asked him and told me to get out of the cab and get another vehicle from outside the station. I lost my temper and shouted back at them. I think they did not expect that kind of a response from me and moved away,” Sayanora said.
According to Sayanora, though she has travelled extensively in various cities in the country and abroad, this was the first such experience in her life. ”It was really shocking,” she said.
The singer has filed a compliant as advised by Central Range inspector-general R Sreejith. “He told me on the phone to register a compliant. So I went to the Ernakulam Town police station and did so. The police will take my statement on Saturday. They have given an assurance that I won’t face any more difficulty,” said the singer.
On November 30, a group of autorickshaw drivers allegedly attacked an Uber taxi driver and threatened the woman passenger in the car at the Ernakulam South railway station. The driver Mohammed was attacked at the entrance of the railway station when he picked up the passenger at 7.30 am.
The auto drivers then threatened the passenger, Vidhya Gopalakrishnan, who later lodged a complaint with the police commissioner. Following this, Southern Railway said there was no ban on any particular taxi on the station premises.