MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena has taken upon itself the task of “protecting” women in Mumbai on New Years’ Eve. It has sent out a diktat to the 30,000-odd auto and taxi drivers affiliated to the party to ensure safety of women passengers on the night of December 31.
The drivers who are associated with the Sena’s Shiv Vahtuk Sena have also been asked to look out for trouble makers in every nook and cranny of the city all through the night of December 31.
Over 16,000 rickshaws and 10,000 taxis ply across Mumbai.
Shiv Vahatuk Sena president Haji Arafat Shaikh said: “We have taken it upon ourselves to ensure safety of women as auto and taxi drivers are best poised to keep an eye on antisocials because they move all over the city. We have told all our drivers that it will be their responsibility to ensure that every woman reaches home safely after the celebrations are over. The drivers will also immediately alert the police if they spot something wrong.”
According to the Sena, the move is also intended to dispel the “common perception” about drivers by making them stake-holders in ensuring safety of women.
Shaikh said: “Taxi drivers have earned a bad name, particularly after the December 5 Uber rape incident in Delhi. The drivers have been asked not to refuse long or shortdistance travel to any person, especially a woman.”
Some taxi unions from Pune, Navi Mumbai and Thane areas, which are not tied-up with the transport wing of the party, have responded positively and joined the initiative.
Incidentally, as the Sena prepares to take issue of women’s safety on the 31st in its own hands, several of its leaders and party members are battling molestation and sexual abuse charges.
In September this year, Sena’s deputy district president Vasudev Nambiar was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor in Mumbai.
The drivers have been asked not to refuse long or short distance travel to any person, especially a woman.