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Ola Passenger Calls Out Driver for Calling Him 'Anti-National', Gets Trolled

By: Shreya Basak


Last Updated: January 24, 2020, 20:59 IST

Ola Passenger Calls Out Driver for Calling Him 'Anti-National', Gets Trolled

Is it free speech for drivers to eavesdrop on a passengers' conversations and insert their own opinions when they don't like what they heard?

With the passing of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, the shrinking of the Indian economy and the GDP hitting a six year low, a wave of distress has been going through the country.

Even as many in the country continue to protest against many of the recently implemented and contentious policies of the government, dissent of any kind can quickly earn one the 'anti-national' tag.

In a recent example, a Management Consultant, who had taken an Ola ride only to end up being termed as an 'anti-national' by his driver for criticising the state of the economy in a personal conversation the phone.

Kanav Sharma took to Twitter to state that while he was over a phone call in his Ola cab yesterday, discussing India's depleting economy, he was was overheard by his driver who seemed to take personal offence at the discourse. The driver said, “Only six years of Modi government, how can you blame economy?” It is Congress’s fault of 70 years. I asked him, so what all wrongs did congress do?".

The driver further went on to add, that the Congress created the Jawaharlal Nehru University, which is "a prostitution hub of the Tukde Tukde gang". He further enlightened Mr. Sharma by saying, "You know who was Nehru? He was India’s first PM but his grandfather was a Muslim who converted to Hinduism to fool Indian people.”

When Mr.Sharma urged him to check his facts and or even if what he believes is true, it should least affect him. "I am concerned about the economy and it’s not good!," Sharma said only to be termed as an "anti-nationalist", who must be also against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

On Mr. Sharma's affirmation that yes, he is indeed against those, the driver was quick enough to bomabrd him with another set of questions. To begin with, he said, "Where was your opposition when Kashmiri Pandits were raped and murdered?”, without having the knowledge that Mr. Sharma is from Jammu & Kashmir and have grown up with people of all religions.

The driver further added, “Your family survived brutality of 1990s. You must be involved with them.”

Of course he was unaware of the fact that Mr.Sharma didn’t belong to Kashmir and was neither a Pandit, who were targeted in 1990s.

Sensing the fray going a little arduous, Mr. Sharma admitted to not have this argument any further. But he still wasn't cut any slack as a prompt reply from the driver came as, “I agree, Your forefathers should have migrated to Pakistan. Our country would be cleaner without people of your thoughts.”

Mr. Sharma, however, managed to bail himself out of the situation as his destination arrived and "he deboarded peacefully."

He said, "The depth to which BJP’s propaganda and fake news has reached, it is getting really scary."

Writing to Ola's official account, Mr. Sharma said, "It would be much better if your drivers would focus on driving than overhearing conversations and tagging people anti-nationals during their driving duties." He went on to add the ride number for reference.

However, Mr. Sharma and Ola's desire to take an action against the driver drew strong criticism from some Twitter users, who defended the cabbie in the name of of "free speech" adding that the man had not violated any rules.

Is it free speech for drivers to eavesdrop on a passenger's conversations and insert their own opinions as dominant even when they were not even being spoken to? Or is it free speech to turn aggressive when countered after such an intrusion? Ola had initially happened to think that it was the driver's fault.

The tweet thread was quick enough to draw a response from Ola, which said, "We are sorry about your bad experience. We have reported the driver-partner for corrective action and would ensure to avoid these instances in the future. Hope to serve you better."

However, after receiving a backlash, Ola confirmed that they haven’t penalised the driver or the customer and have urged both to be respectful of different opinions as mentioned in their tweet.

first published:January 24, 2020, 16:10 IST
last updated:January 24, 2020, 20:59 IST