Are Uber and sexual assault on their way to becoming synonyms? Never-ending incidents suggest so - the latest one happened on Wednesday night just ahead of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, where a 30-year-old Andheri resident, en route to home from Cumballa Hill, was allegedly molested by her Uber driver. As per her complaint lodged with the Bandra police, he tried to strike up a conversation with her and, after crossing the sea link toll, stopped the car on the highway, getting into the back next to her.
The Uber driver stopped the car shortly after crossing the Sea Link toll and allegedly molested the passenger
The woman said she had visited a cousin in Cumballa Hill on Wednesday. Her cousin booked an Uber for her as her phone had low battery. She left from her place at 9 pm.
She alleged that the driver tried to strike up a conversation with her shortly after leaving, asking her where she was headed. He then allegedly went on to personal questions - where was she from and if her family was based in Mumbai. The woman said she didn't give it much thought and answered him in monosyllables.
The driver then allegedly started speaking about himself, saying he hailed from Lucknow, that the car belonged to his employer and he was just working as a driver.
After they got stuck in traffic due to Navratri, the driver allegedly asked her if she celebrated the festival, to which she said no. "My phone had conked off, I couldn't appear to stay busy in something; so, I just heard him out. Mein bas uski haan mein haan mila rahi thi," she told mid-day.
Too close for comfort
"Before we hit the sea link, he had asked me if he could stop to buy water for himself, and I had let him. He had offered me the water but I had declined. At that time, he'd even asked me to sit in the front with him; I had refused and asked him to get moving. He had also asked me to watch a random video on his phone and kept talking about it.
"Two minutes after crossing the sea link toll naka, he stopped the car and got down. He came behind to show me another video. I asked him to go back to his seat and drive, but he didn't listen and touched my hands, trying to come closer. I somehow managed to open the door and get out. He then rushed to the front to start the car, but I didn't sit back. I didn't know what to do, we were in the middle of a highway and it was late."
She added that she decided to walk back to the toll naka. "The attendant there asked me if everything was okay. He helped me to get another cab, which took me home."
The woman and her brother went to Bandra police station last evening to file a complaint. He said, "We wanted the car number, but it was not mentioned in the history. We requested Uber to share it with us; however, they denied citing privacy."
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