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Old 24th July 2015, 11:48   #256
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

From what I could understand, looks like the two opposing groups are now clearly getting formed. And the battle lines are getting drawn. This forum, I guess have non-Ladakhi population as the majority, so there is going to be bias on that ground. But I feel this problem needs to be viewed from different angles, and a middle path has to be identified. The Ladakhis can take a stand that they would rather keep the tourists out, and still survive. The tourists can try debating on the law points and take a stand that they would go in what ever way they chose to go. If this is the position both party takes, then Ladakhis would have to back out if their living standards would come down, or the law enforcement becomes very active. The tourists would lose out, if they find out the area to be risk-prone and at every moment clearly shown that they are "unwanted" there.

The only way forward I see is finding out a cooperative way of doing things. J&K state government can have special entry permits to out-of-state vehicles, perhaps with a steep fee for self-driven rental cars. I guess Goa, already has such a scheme and that is considered to be legally valid. And this extra funds can be used to subsidise the loans of the local taxi drivers, or perhaps used to deploy them else where (may be to start some other business). The funds can also be used in schemes which would support the local ecology. Another idea would be to have a cap on the number of tourists allowed per season. I guess Amar Nath Yatras etc. are conducted in this manner. The tourist passes can be given away using an auction, and the funds generated again used for the ecology sustaining or for helping the local population. Once these measures are in place, only a genuine tourist who really likes Ladakh would even attempt to go there. The other folks who just want to prove a point, or just consider this as another hill-station (like Ooty) perhaps may go else where due to the cost factor. This would bring in more "responsible tourism".

The tourists also should realise that without the cooperation from the local folks in the place they are visiting, they are not going to have any fun. The money they spend on their tours would just go a waste. Yes, legally we can travel any where in India in a way we choose to travel (off course also following the rule of the land). But if that is used an excuse to completely bye-pass local sentiments, it would not survive in the long term. At some point, the local would have the advantage (which no law can formally cancel out), that is they are the locals in the area; or they landed up there much before the tourists arrived. Local police officers, and even the lower rung of the bureaucracy are going to be locals and they are not going to antagonise the local population, just to keep one time visitors happy. The local population can make a tourist really feel unwanted using subtle measures (even a simple thing like denying food, or giving wrong directions etc.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice
They can try to justify the actions as much as they want. The passed resolution is for everyone to see.
That resolution is still not the law. So legally it does not mean any thing. But as I said earlier, a hostile local population is not going to make any tourist feel safe.

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I wish the MHA reinstates the permit rule and caps the number of tourists at 100 a month - driven to and from Leh in HPTDC/JKTDC buses.
+1 to that. And if they allow cars etc., then introduce entry tax schemes with different slabs. Perhaps based on the type of the vehicle, whether it is self-owned or not etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao
That Facebook post is full of veiled threats and sarcastic 'you think you can actually do something to us?' jibes.
Agreed, and it may not be the right thing to do. But as a tourist what are the options people have? Blaming poor English etc. is of no help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath
Simple Question - Even if the fortuner owner had made some lewd comments, what prevented the so called Friendly local Ladhaki taximen union drivers to hand him over to the police. Why did they take law into thier own hands.
Legally speaking you are correct. But think about it, in how many places do this actually work in India? There is a saying in Malayalam, which essentially means that the reply for an abuse has to be given using a heavy stick on the spot. There is also another one which says, work in a field and the wages have to be given just next to the fields (that means immediate response). There is also another saying in Tamil which says the benefit received after getting a few beatings (due to poor behaviour), that cannot be even given by the person's brothers or family . Thrashing of people due to aggressive behaviour is not just unique to Ladhak. New Delhi is infamous for that. Two months back a motor cycle rider bashed up a bus driver using a fire extinguisher, while the rider's mother encouraged him. The driver died. So the tourists trying to paint a picture of being law abiding and Ladakhis being all criminals would not really be the truth. That tourist who tried the "Jaanta mei kaun ho?" routine - which I understand is quite popular in Northern parts of India- needs to really get his bloated ego broken on the spot.

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Originally Posted by humyum
And if he thinks Ladakh is his private property, he can pick it up, pack it in his bag and take it wherever u wants, but until it's in India, anyone can go anyhow in Ladakh and no one can stop them.
Yes, the law of the land allows that. But think about this whole aspect. How comfortable would you be in going to a place where you are clearly considered to be "unwelcome". J&K government cannot provide a police escort for a tourist or even a tourist convoy. Assume that they actually do that, what if you goto a hotel to have food and the owner just says that what ever item you want, they don't have it. What can the police do here? The government can try bringing in more legislation, the local people are going to be more offensive against that. Finally you would have a small revolt out there. Do you think any one would allow this to happen just for the cause of tourism? Think about it even the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Taxation rules and its enforcement have split the society in to two different groups (the pro-Kannadiga & anti-Kannadiga feelings are getting more visible).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalvaz
Not just in India but many foreign destinations hate indian tourists as well.
We should not be demeaning ourselves like this, but I have heard many hotel staff clearly say that dealing with 20 foreign tourists (who generally are precise, and keep to themselves) is easy than dealing with a typical Indian tourist family (of 4-5 people), with their umpteen demands and the thankless attitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bullrun87
The thing about tourism is that you don't get to decide what sort of guy you get. Hosts are supposed to be welcoming
That is the ideal situation. But even the most costliest hotels generally have a provision clearly telling that they can chuck out people who they feel do not suit their expected clientèle profile. When a place welcomes tourism, it is not a "master servant relationship", where the locals all becomes servants and the tourists all become masters. That is never going to work.
-----------
Came back to say. This is off-topic, it concerns Indian Railways and Dudhsagar - a (in)famous tourist spot. Read through the both the reports from Bangalore Mirror (which I feel suits the Yuppy crowd at Bangalore).

As trains snake past Dudhsagar Falls, fatalities begin to mount

The reporter seems to be a moron, who I feel forgot the impression his report gives. Read this to know more about the tourist behaviour at Dudhsagar. Will any sensible person support this behaviour?
Dudhsagar is off bounds henceforth
And now see what happened. Indian Railways got fed up with the boorish tourists who had no rights to even come there. Now they have stopped all access to the water falls. RPF men would be able to deal with the Yuppie crowd using lathis. This is what happens when irresponsible tourism is encouraged.

Last edited by sachinpk : 24th July 2015 at 11:53.
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Old 24th July 2015, 11:49   #257
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Clearly, it takes two hands to clap.
Not anymore! There have been numerous accounts of unprovoked attacks and the instances are increasing alarmingly. That infamous Beedi baron didn't need a second hand to mow down his gate keeper for example. I do agree that it would be unfair to judge the entire Ladakhi population based on the misdeeds of a few, however, it seems, that the miscreants are enjoying full local support who are joining the wrong side by posting on social media with a nasty attitude towards " Indian" tourists and even making subtle threats. Needless to say, foreign tourists would be gullible and can be extorted rather easily, so the motive seems awfully clear here. Coming back to this sad incident, I still think that the attack was unprovoked until proven otherwise, that is, unless you consider : i) Driving your own vehicle in your own country, ii) Driving a legal self drive rental in your own country and iii) trying to escape from a stone pelting crowd, to be a provocative act.

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Originally Posted by deb1975 View Post
Absolutely right dude. Some of us come from the hilly parts too and we share your concerns especially when some people pelt insanely down hill roads with no idea of how to drive in the hills. The truth is difficult but that does not mean that the truth needs to be buried.
Well Deb, I've had my share of trips to the hills, especially the Northeast. I love Sikkim. I have seen filth at the railway stations and Bus terminals at New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. I have seen tourists scattering junks and debris from windows of local cabs. I have seen rashly driven local cabs. I'll try to dig out a five year old video showing our cab driver from Gangtok holding a cigarette in one hand, talking over the cellphone with the other and steering the Scorpio with his elbows! On the contrary, last May, I drove up to Sikkim for the first time. I drove very slowly and carefully in the hills and gave way to local vehicles at the earliest of opportunity. I absolutely do not buy the idea that drivers from the plains cause danger to others in such places. Firstly, we go there to relax and thus we are never in any hurry, so the drive is automatically slow and sober. Secondly, we are out of our elements, so we are instinctively more careful and restrained. By day 5 of our trip, my car had turned into a smelly garbage truck as we ensured not to even litter a cigarette butt in the beautiful state. We finally managed to dump all our garbage properly at the Maldah hotel on our way back.

Development is a double edged sword. It has been like that always. In a pleasantly memorable conversation with the hotel owner at Namchi, he cribbed that owing to construction of dams, hydel power projects and other infrastructure projects commissioned in the State the temperatures were soaring and the influx of nasty outsiders have increased. While nodding my head in partial agreement, I reminded him, that I have also heard people from his State complaining about lack of development work and apathy of the central Government and using it as an excuse to harbor separatist views. He too, jovially agreed and we laughed it out eventually.
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Old 24th July 2015, 12:01   #258
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
I know I have posted about this before. Clearly, it takes two hands to clap. Part of the problem is definitely because the local taxi drivers feel that self drive cars will reduce their income. But there is some merit in the arguments made by Ladakhspa as well. As I mentioned in the earlier thread, driving in Ladakh is extra-ordinarily dangerous.

Shouldn't we be more willing to give them some leeway that we would not give people in more populated parts of India, or think of constructive solutions like putting a cap on the number of self drive cars allowed(if that can be done for Rohtang, it can be done for Ladakh), and creating a strong driving and behaviour code for tourists visiting that place?
Believe me, I have had the time of my life riding shotgun with a journalist pelting around Ladakh, totally unaware of the dangers

Capping numbers should work but the process should be transparent.

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Originally Posted by lazy View Post
The tone of this TeamBHP thread is completely hostile - lets teach them as lesson, lets boycott them, who do they think they are, they are threatening us etc.
Cant we comprehend why a peaceful and friendly population would suddenly behave so aggressively?
They have been saying no to self-drive rentals, yet desis think "what will these poor villagers do...I have connections and money....."

cheers
The Cartel to ban selfdrive and the self policing - there was no environmental / safety angle ever stated. It is purely a cartel

Hostile? We are hostile to violence and cartel.

As for the incident - why did the crowd smash all the cars instead oftargetting the one offending vehicle. Again we have only heard from one side of the story

Last edited by ajmat : 24th July 2015 at 14:52.
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Old 24th July 2015, 12:51   #259
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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post
......Blaming poor English etc. is of no help. .....
I don't care either way about their diction, but the person is trying to represent the whole Ladakhi community (rightly or wrongly) on a very sensitive topic, so the least they can do is express themselves in a clear & precise manner instead of typing like a petulant teenager and aggravating matters further.

Too much to expect?

As for your comments about irresponsible tourist behavior, I agree unreservedly. I've experienced first-hand how unruly we as a nation are as tourists (not just in Ladakh but everywhere), and there definitely need to be strict nationwide rules on 'leave the place as you found it' lines, but indulging in violence cannot be condoned. If the Ladakhis are concerned about the ecological and economic fallout of rampant irresponsible tourism of 'Indians', they should get measures enforced the right way.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 24th July 2015 at 13:03.
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Old 24th July 2015, 13:00   #260
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Of all the places in India, a place like Ladakh (known for Buddhism) is the last place you expect such violence. I can only hope that this doesn't spread.
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Old 24th July 2015, 13:01   #261
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
I know I have posted about this before. Clearly, it takes two hands to clap. Part of the problem is definitely because the local taxi drivers feel that self drive cars will reduce their income. But there is some merit in the arguments made by Ladakhspa as well. As I mentioned in the earlier thread, driving in Ladakh is extra-ordinarily dangerous. And the locals drive with enormous cooperation, which enables them to stay safe. If self drive tourists (certainly not all of them, but even a material minority) drive dangerously, bringing the driving culture of the plains to Ladakh, that puts others at risk. Similarly, let's not pretend that folks from Bombay or Delhi would never make remarks calling the locals Chinkis or something of that kind - there are enough people who would not even realise they are doing something wrong when they make such remarks. Ladakh is a unique area - at the junction of different cultures, where people live a hard life with very, very little. Shouldn't we be more willing to give them some leeway that we would not give people in more populated parts of India, or think of constructive solutions like putting a cap on the number of self drive cars allowed(if that can be done for Rohtang, it can be done for Ladakh), and creating a strong driving and behaviour code for tourists visiting that place?
Sirjee,

There are two things here:
a. Yes - there may always be two sides to a story.
b. yes - the aam aadmi in del/bom may be rather crude and use unacceptable / borderline racist language for our brethren from other parts in India.

Would the average ladakh visitor be as crude as that? I really doubt that sweeping generalization can be made. In my sole visit in 2007, I saw no evidence of that.

It is equally incomprehensible, coming from someone with well considered posts like you, to assume that those tourists would have called them names with a racist tinge, ESPECIALLY when they would have been warned of potential issues with taxi operators.

My personal view is that even in the worst caseit wouldn't have escalated much more than a "who are you to stop me/ I will go / I have connections / try stopping me" etc and the usual hindi abuses than to assume racism. There's zero evidence from ashnd or lamborghini that this convoy was full of idiots seeking to hurt local sentiments or pick up a fight.

We should not presume that serious issues like racism were involved with zero first hand knowledge, sitting over the internet.
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Old 24th July 2015, 13:28   #262
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Of all the places in India, a place like Ladakh (known for Buddhism) is the last place you expect such violence. I can only hope that this doesn't spread.
I know. But, from past experience, we should never associate a religion with violence or non-violence. Examples: Japan (Buddhist) : unspeakable violence during WWII. Sri Lanka (Buddhist) : violence against tamils in most recent war.
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Old 24th July 2015, 13:34   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiku007
Of all the places in India, a place like Ladakh (known for Buddhism) is the last place you expect such violence. I can only hope that this doesn't spread.
I felt the same when I made a trip to that place 10 years back. Infact the northern parts of Jammu, and the Kashmir valley as such was more tourist unfriendly is what I felt. Off course terrorist problems added to that feelings as well. But we all felt very safe the moment we crossed the Kargil town and proceeded towards Leh. When there was a road block (caused by a bus), the local Ladakhis just pooled in all their men folk (from the bus and other vehicles who queued up) and pushed the bus out of the small ditch. I found them to be a close knit group and also willing to help people. Such a thing in any cosmopolitan city with "well educated" people would just mean that there would be too many people sitting in their vehicles and blasting the horns till eternity. But now I understand that the last 10 years have changed lots of things. It seems the taxi unions are so strong, that even a taxi from Manali cannot run freely in Leh. So it is like each small town having a taxi union, who just don't others to ply their vehicles out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman
it wouldn't have escalated much more than a "who are you to stop me/ I will go / I have connections / try stopping me" etc and the usual hindi abuses than to assume racism
But why should any one just tolerate any abuse and dada-giri, especially from a person who is not even from that place? The Hindi abuses is not some kind of "national language" which every one has to grin and bear .
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Old 24th July 2015, 13:57   #264
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Originally Posted by ashlil View Post
I know. But, from past experience, we should never associate a religion with violence or non-violence. Examples: Japan (Buddhist) : unspeakable violence during WWII. Sri Lanka (Buddhist) : violence against tamils in most recent war.
You are right to an extent but in the two examples you sighted it was cruelty meted out by the Government/Military and not the countrymen at large. May be in the case of Ladakh also we should understand more. Are these Taximen really locals?
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Old 24th July 2015, 18:03   #265
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Wow... I now think that I simply got lucky that I decided to return via Shyok and Khardungla and avoided Karu on the way back. The local Taxi Association did check my documents at the turn at Karu and I simply showed them my papers. But this is unbelievable. The mentality here is, I won't let you have what I can't have, so the worry is hardly about losing business and that has started to pour nowadays and they have sent a strong message with this example and to a large extent succeeded if people drop their plans to drive into Leh. Travelling with two 6 year olds, I would've myself been in a shock and breathing fire that I could let this happen to my family and not do anything about it. This shouldn't die down and should be actively extinguished after dealing with the taxi association. Media will not help, it will aggravate. Government / Army / Police can only control, but the hatred will grow. This should be discussed and mediated by including localities, ministers, army and travellers. Should be a big discussion that can be telecasted. Unacceptable behaviour and difficult to digest.
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Old 24th July 2015, 19:07   #266
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Where is the thread starter? I think he should come over and justify what has been said by the Ladakhi is true or not.
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Old 24th July 2015, 20:14   #267
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Thank you all once again for the tremendous support we have seen these past few days. We apologise for the delay in posting further information, but this was necessary owing to some personal reasons. However, this delay has had an unintended positive outcome. Reacting to the extremely strong criticism, some members of the taxi mafia have started to ‘respond’ with ‘their side’ of the story on social media. The reason I call this as positive, is because we now have the video of the first attack at Karu available to share with one an all. Not only will this shatter to bits the white lies being told about a check post and a peaceful queue of vehicles, but this has helped us identify at-least some people who we will name in our petition in the Kashmiri High Court, via Drive Without Borders, the NGO.

The video is being uploaded tonight and will share the link either late tonight or early tomorrow.

Please pay attention to the Ladakhi responders words: he addresses and singles out Indian tourists as ‘Domestic tourists’ and goes ahead with his rant in a most demeaning way. Therein lies the key: the taxi mafia and related businesses actually prefer foreign tourists in Leh whom they fleece by having inflated rates for every service they provide. You can see this widely in Leh.

In any case, let us keep this post abstract and devoid of feeling. There is no point entering into a slanging match with these people. However, let it be amply clear that these people attacked vehicles with people in them, myself and family included, and they are criminals who will be taken to court for attempt to murder besides destruction of property. Without even going into the emotional ramifications of this incident, please do not even give them the benefit of the doubt for even a moment. The attackers in this incident are CRIMINALS. Period. They do not deserve to roam free and certainly not to ferry passengers on such treacherous roads. And please note that we’re not talking about anyone else here but the few that pelted the stones. No generalisation, not even the whole of the taxi owing community in Leh.

Besides, I can tell you from first hand experience that these taxi drivers are the worst drivers you can find on the high mountain passes and have no regard for road safety, let alone the environment. As related earlier, they tail-gate you on the worst of roads and try and cause accidents in the most dangerous of places on these roads. Their taxis belch out smoke and are the most polluting amongst all vehicles on that road.

When I first posted about this incident, it was meant as a small reply to an existing thread about the resolution passed by this taxi mafia. We had suffered whatever loss they had caused and were dealing with it. The only idea was to warn others of the danger. Quite rightly, the moderators at Team BHP attached a lot of importance to the post and created a new thread and shared it on social media, to reach the stage of awareness we’re at today. This was not my first trip to Leh and this is not something that we had bargained for. We’re also auto enthusiasts that like to travel, and I would avoid such situations like the plague, unfortunately we were caught up in it and after a point we were helpless.

The point I’m trying to make is for people traveling to Leh and nearby regions in the near future. We have tried to describe the harrowing incident we went through in an abstract and earnest manner. At the moment, the atmosphere in Leh is not inviting for the self-drive tourist and is downright dangerous for those that take a rental vehicle there. The taxi-mafia have taken the law into their own hands and have been able to do it for so long because they have no fear of any repercussions. That is the key to the matter.

So by all means travel to Leh if you so desire, but bear in mind these occurrences and take the necessary precautions.
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Old 24th July 2015, 20:23   #268
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Thanks for sharing the photographs and will also wait for video.
I surely want you to go and register the case with appropriate courts and authorities for taking criminals to task and crime to the logical conclusion - a conviction.

However, I hope you have clearer images and videos than what you have shared here - without recognisable and identifiable faces these photo/video may not be worth much.

Regards,
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just wanted to check,
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Old 24th July 2015, 20:57   #269
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Originally Posted by JLS View Post
Thanks for sharing the photographs and will also wait for video.
I surely want you to go and register the case with appropriate courts and authorities for taking criminals to task and crime to the logical conclusion - a conviction.

However, I hope you have clearer images and videos than what you have shared here - without recognisable and identifiable faces these photo/video may not be worth much.

Regards,
JLS
just wanted to check,
JLS, the original video is in 1080p High Definition. This is a screen-grab from a compressed version, so I'm hoping too that faces can be identified in the original. The owner of the dash-cam is uploading the video tonight, so hopefully will have the link soon.
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Old 24th July 2015, 21:36   #270
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Please see the video taken by the dash-cam of the rental Fortuner, taken at Karu. You can see how the taxi mafia have taken it upon themselves to self-police the point at Karu. There is no queue for a checkpost, no rash driving, the mafia block the way and the vehicle stops, the driver talks to the ‘self-appointed’ police (the taxi mafia). They then try and snatch his keys, wherein the dashcam shakes, he winds his window up, and revs his engine to show his displeasure at such high-handedness. They then gesture for him to stay put whilst the destruction begins. It is only then that he moves away from the area, as any sane-minded person would.

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