India

Uber Delhi 'rape': India tells states to ban web taxis

  • 9 December 2014
  • From the section India
The Uber smartphone app, used to book taxis using its service, is pictured over a parking lot as auto-rickshaws (background) ply a road in the Indian capital New Delhi on December 7, 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption India is one of dozens of countries where Uber is popular

India's home ministry has advised all states to ban unregistered web-based taxi firms after a driver for the Uber service was accused of raping a passenger in the capital Delhi.

Delhi has banned Uber and several other web-based taxi firms for failing to carry out adequate driver checks.

The order means taxis from these services will now attract a fine or even be impounded, officials say.

The Uber driver accused of rape has been arrested and remanded in custody.

The 26-year-old woman had used the Uber smartphone app to book a taxi home on Friday night but said she was taken to a secluded area and raped.

Although the driver has not yet given a statement, police say he has confessed to the crime.

"Following the incident of a heinous crime... the government of Delhi has banned Uber to provide any transport related service in Delhi," the home ministry said in a message to state governments around the country.

All internet-based taxi services which are not licensed with the government are also prohibited from operating until they get registered, the letter says, adding that all other states and federally-administered union territories are advised to do the same.

In an order issued late on Monday, the Delhi government said only six registered radio taxi companies were being allowed to continue to operate in the capital.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Although the driver has not yet given a statement, police say he has confessed to the crime

"All other transport/ taxi service providers through web-based technology, who are not recognised, are prohibited from providing such services... till they get licence/permission from the transport department," S Roy Biswas, Delhi's deputy commissioner of transport, said.

Media reports said the ban could hit a number of taxi services in the city, and thousands of drivers would be out of work.

A BBC correspondent in Delhi says Uber is still accepting bookings on its app and it is not yet clear how the ban will be enforced since Uber taxis do not carry any visible branding.

Uber has not yet commented on the ban.

On Monday, the company described the incident as "horrific" and said it would do everything "to help bring this perpetrator to justice".

The latest allegation of rape has again put the spotlight on the issue of sexual violence against Indian women, following a series of recent incidents.

It comes days before the second anniversary of the gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi, which prompted global outrage and a tightening of the laws on sexual violence.

Meanwhile, #DelhiShamedAgain and #Uber are among the top Twitter trends in India with many people taking to social media to express their outrage at the incident.

Natasha said banning all online taxi companies was "ridiculous":

Image copyright Tweet

Dr Munish Raizada said although India has a new government now, nothing really had changed:

Image copyright Tweet

Siddharth Jain said banning Uber was "no solution":

Image copyright Tweet

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