Tit-For-Tat: MNS thrashes auto driver who assaulted youth over extra fare at BKC

Tit-For-Tat: MNS thrashes auto driver who assaulted youth over extra fare at BKC
After cops failed to take action, MNS leaders thrashed the auto driver who had assaulted a youngster over extra fare at BKC earlier this week (screengrabs from the video)

The autorickshaw driver who manhandled a youngster over ‘extra fare’ at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) earlier this week was thrashed by MNS leaders on Thursday.

Driver assaults passenger

On Tuesday afternoon, an unidentified passenger took a shared auto from Kurla to travel to BKC. Upon reaching the destination, the auto driver – identified as Vinod Kumar Rai – demanded a fare of Rs 30, instead of the approved rate of Rs 20.

When the passenger refused to pay, Rai pushed him around and slapped him. The youngster, visibly shaken from the attack, paid the extra amount after which the driver left the spot.

The entire incident was captured on camera by a bystander and went viral the next day. The video bears testament to the argument and the auto driver’s highhandedness.

MNS thrashes auto driver

The viral video caught the attention of MNS leaders Nitin Nandgaonkar and Akhil Chitre, who approached Bandra police station to seek action against the driver. The cops, however, refused to initiate action citing lack of a complaint from the passenger.

Following the cop’s refusal, MNS workers tracked down the rickshaw driver and apprehended him. Nandgaonkar and Chitre, along with several other workers, thrashed the driver at the same spot and recorded part of the incident.

In the video uploaded on Nandgaonkar’s Facebook page, he can be seen forcing an apology out of Rai and slapping him multiple times.

Notably, the video, in which Nandgaonkar settles the score with the driver on behalf of “citizens Mumbai or Maharashtra”, takes a communal turn as he assigns the blame on rude and arrogant North Indian auto drivers who have migrated to the city and state.

Towards the end of the video, Nandgaonkar, affiliated with MNS’s transport wing, warns the driver of dire consequences if he repeats such behaviour and issues a similar diktat to other drivers who can be seen watching the incident from the sidelines.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Nandgaonkar has dished out his own brand of justice on taxi or auto drivers. While some have condemned his actions in the past, a vast majority of netizens have lauded him for taking down errant drivers.

Aftermath

As of Friday morning, the video of MNS thrashing the auto driver is going viral on social media. While no action has been initiated against the party’s leaders, Rai has been called for questioning and is likely going to face legal action.

Even Transport Minister Diwakar Raote has recommended the suspension of Rai’s driving license and sought police action against him. Meanwhile, both Rai and the rickshaw’s owner Kamal Bahadur Shaikh have been served notices.

Several commuters who face a similar situation every day have also, without necessarily endorsing the MNS’ violent take, lauded the party for bringing the drivers in line.

“I am glad someone was successful in scaring the these auto drivers. Thousands of people like me have to bear with their rude behaviour since we are dependant on them for our daily commute. I don’t think violence is the answer to everything, but I don’t see what else can be done if authorities continue to ignore the problem,” said Avik Singh, who works in a multinational at BKC.

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