A group of nearly 100 autorickshaw drivers gathered at the gates of the Commissioner of Police’s office on Thursday morning to protest alleged harassment by police personnel. They alleged being subjected to penalties, assaults and damage to vehicles under the pretext of the new autorickshaw fare implementation drive.
The drivers, most of whom were in uniform, gheraoed the Commissionerate around 11 a.m. and wanted to lodge a complaint with Police Commissioner S. George.
Kadhar Ibrahim, a driver from VGP Road, Saidapet, who submitted a petition on behalf of the drivers, said that some police personnel were ‘abusing and extorting’ them.
“In the last two weeks, while plying on city roads, we have been intercepted at many places and slapped fines by policemen even if we are charging per meter. They also abuse us and slam our vehicles with lathis, damaging them,” he said.
Another driver N. Subramanium from Guindy said some policemen called and harassed drivers based on SMS complaints through the helpline numbers. “I have been an autorickshaw driver for 15 years but this is the worst harassment I have faced. My vehicle is impounded and I have been jobless for 10 days now,” he added.
Representatives of the drivers met a senior officer who promised them that a Joint Commissioner will address the matter within a couple of days. The group dispersed following the assurance.