Is an Internet-Taxi Ban in New Delhi the solution to Women’s safety?

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Photo credit: Carolyn Coles / Foter / CC BY

Sohini Sinha, YoungLondonNews

Unregistered app-based taxi services have faced a ban in New Delhi, India.

This followed after a 27-year old female passenger alleged that a driver contracted to the international taxi-booking service Uber raped her on Saturday, 5th December.

The transport department of the Delhi government issued a notice that only licensed cab services will run across the city some of them being Easy Cab, Mega Cab, Meru Cab, Chanson Cab, Yo Cab and Air Cab.

Madhurima Ghosh, a PHd student in Sociology says,

“The way society perceives a woman itself is the root cause of the problem. Our society being patriarchal objectifies women and perceives them as a property. Banning Internet taxis is not the solution to such a huge problem. If people do not use cabs, they will use some other means of transportation. And women can be molested anywhere, why only taxis?”

This has led to the axe falling on Uber-type app-based taxi services such as OlaCabs and TaxiForSure that stand banned from operating in the national capital region.

This latest episode has once again served to highlight the issue of women’s safety in India. The ban imposed, however raises many questions.

Should Uber taxi really be banned? What is more important?

Women safety or Prohibit the running of unlicensed vehicles.

25-year old Dipanwita Das Gupta, a freelance journalist and currently working as a copywriter in Blackpencil India says,

Every time, it takes a situation like this to awaken the Government. And every single time, things go back to square one. Nirbhaya’s ghost continues to haunt us, even as it approaches its 2nd anniversary.”

It is a reflection of the failure of Delhi Government’s Transport Department and law enforcement agencies to work as a team even after the December 16, 2012, gang rape involving a 23-year old student who was gang-raped in a moving bus.

“As a writer working in an ad agency, I have no fixed timings. There have been many times when I have almost fallen asleep in the car after a night of stressful work. Is that an invitation to get raped?”

She feels services like Uber that take no accountability for safety of its passengers should be banned. However, only banning Uber is not the solution. Improved security, proper vigilance, driver verification as well as GPS services need to be made available in every car.

Violence against women is a rampant issue plaguing not just Delhi, but the whole country right now. Is it because every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he can get away by doing whatever he wants? Maybe, lawmakers need to ask themselves the question?

24-year old Ishita Roy, a lawyer working for Monika Kalra and Associates says, 

“Such incidents cannot be curbed till stringent laws are put into place from arrest of the accused to medical examination of victims and a speedy trial. Ammendments need to be made in the Motor Vehicles Act to keep it updated with changing times.”

The incident has rightfully angered many people in India, but city officials have gone so far as to ban Uber outright. That won’t improve safety for the city’s taxi-takers.

This problem is not just prevalent in India. UK is suffering from this disease as well.

According to a report entitled,Ending Violence against Women and Girls in the UK,” published by the Home Office in March 2013, only around one in ten women who experience serious sexual assault report it to the police.

As a result, one can assume that the actual number of taxi rapes across Britain as a whole is far greater than many are willing to admit.

But has this ban been brought into effect?

In spite of government advisory, Uber cabs continue to run in most metro cities on Tuesday. In Mumbai and Kolkata, the service was available and the smartphone app active. In Bengaluru, cabs on the web-based app were unavailable though no clear ban was announced in the city.

Uber’s smartphone app also continued to remain active and cabs available for hire in Delhi, more than 24 hours after the US-based firm was banned in the Capital following the rape of the 27-year-old woman.

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