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Old 18th July 2015, 15:40   #91
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by Monkeyboy4u View Post
Rules cannot be unwritten ! Rules should be concise, clear and unambiguous and clearly mentioned !! People cannot have their own interpretation of rules.
True and well said. Sad that another BHPian has indirectly espoused support for "terror" in yet another form.
Its not expected on this forum.
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Old 18th July 2015, 15:44   #92
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Local rules?! I'm afraid I don't agree with that school of thought. Being sensitive to local culture I can understand because the constitution doesn't cover it. But the law is equal for all and so are the fundamental rights. Hiding behind the garb of local economic development to create cartels, beat travellers up, damage their cars etc is an offense and deserves no sympathy. Such practices only lead to a downfall of the economy of a city/state since there is essentially no competiton and no incentive to compete and do better.

While the cars will be repaired, I cannot even pretend I understand what psycological impact this incident would have had to the men, women, aged parents and kids who experienced this.
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:03   #93
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

First of all, this act should be condemned and What I say after this (my opinions) does not dilute the rage I feel towards the despicable behaviour of the rioting people in any way.

We know only one side of the story. I want to re-iterate here - I STRONGLY CONDEMN THIS - But as sane individuals we need to know what actually transpired there. If well-natured people suddenly erupt in violence, there should be a valid reason.

Leh and the surrounding villages and attractions are not your normal tourist destinations - Places that are accessible all through the year. So, when it comes to payment of services such as Hotels, Taxis and food, I feel it is justifiable to pay them more than say what you would pay in Ooty or Kodaikanal. What they provide may be equivalent to the services provided in other hill stations, but they have to fend for the entire year with the money earned in these 6 or 7 months (mostly). There are people who say "taxis are costing 8000 Rs and over for one trip to Pangong tso and over. But imagine what would happen if the people there forsake the place and migrate because the money you pay for them in-sufficient.

And for those Gentlemen who suggested "taking eye for an eye" is the way to go about - I really feel your indignation but perhaps your outburst could be a bit more moderated.
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:06   #94
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
we do need to conform to local rules, whether written or unwritten.
What are these unwritten local rules? how are they decided ? how does one find out about them?

I think a significant percentage of the population of Mumbai does not want people from UP and Bihar coming and taking jobs in MH.

Should I conform to these "local rules" and leave Mumbai?
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:21   #95
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I have started feeling that all states and union territories are independent to script their own; so called "Local Laws" and the Pan India Rule Book appears to be only on paper. Sad that these places would start getting ignored due to such myopic vision.

In my opinion no local businesses get affected by outsiders. In fact its the other way round. The law of economics states that the more people travel to such places the better the local economy gets shaped. Can someone explain these idiots this simple fundamentals. Not everyone are going to self-drive at a given point of time. Due to time constraints the number of tourists using air, train and taxis would be more. For every single self-drive there are umpteen tourists who hate driving and prefer being driven around. In fact I would start forming opinions about the local people and their greed.

Anyways have always thought about driving there from Kolkata and the planning is on. Fingers crossed I should be driving to the place with my WB registered own vehicle without any trouble before Ladakh also turns into another Sikkim/NE.
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:32   #96
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Quite obviously , if every nook and corner of this country start developing their own "rules", there will be complete anarchy. What needs to be followed and respected is the law of the land. It's not perfect, there are shortcomings, but yet it needs to be adhered to .

Recently , there have been demands in Manipur for restoration of the ILP system to protect the interest of localites. Demands should be put forth in an appropriate manner instead of running a parallel system of law, that is simply not tenable in the longer run, and does no good to the country either.

It appears that this has been going on for a long time, and yet the governments did nothing to nip this in the bud.
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:35   #97
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

that scared the sugar honey iced tea outta me! this is preposterous!

well, there goes my dream of driving to Ladakh! *sound of flush* maybe i'll revisit the dream in my next life! for now, Pluto sounds like a welcome alternative
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:38   #98
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Does the Taxi association not realize that such acts of hooliganism will only prevent tourists from visiting them? Somebody should start a Boycott Leh Ladakh movement and ask everyone to skip two seasons so the taxi mafia suffers huge losses and changes their stance on the situation.
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:40   #99
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Shedding some light on your queries based on friends who were in another car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
This is a despicable act of vandalism and strong-arm tactics by a group with vested interests - no two ways about that.

However, I would request you for certain clarifications regarding the sequence of events:

Which make of vehicles were these? From which self-drive company? Were all members of the convoy connected / related / friendly with each other? Were you travelling as a convoy from Delhi itself?
There was a Fortuner and a Duster as part of the convoy, which included 14 other vehicles.
Convoy moved from Delhi itself, and all the members were very friendly with each other and respected each other, as well as road users.

Quote:
I understand that taxiwalas tried to wave down your convoy while proceeding towards Chang La / Pangong, to prevent you from going there. But the convoy did not stop. Why not? You already knew that the taxiwalas did not want the rental vehicles to proceed towards Pangong, didn't you?
So, with your private registration plates, you were not targeted at all at this time.
True, the private vehicles were not targetted initially, but from what I understand, the convoy had no trouble on the way to Pangong. Only on the way back did this drama start.
People did check earlier, and self drive vehicles have gone there before. At most we were told that they would stop the vehicles and have us go in their cabs, and maybe the odd stone. No one was prepared for 2 proper incidents of stone throwing and a mob with iron rods.

Quote:
So the crowd you mention above was very near the Karu roundabout? And they chased you after you had crossed them without being targeted? Or do you think they were trying to chase and stop the rental cars specifically?
There were two incidents. One at Karu, one at Leh roundabout. They took videos of the cars in the convoy which were circulated so other cars could be identified.

Quote:
What stickers?
Stickers of the convoy - with car No. 1, etc.

Quote:
So they were not actually trying to physically harm persons, but their primary focus was on damaging the vehicles. Any minor injury was essentially collateral damage. Is that correct?
A friend was nearly pulled out from his private registered Thar. He got lucky that the door was jammed.

Quote:
This was at the Leh police station? How long after the stoning incident?
Immediately after the incident.

Quote:
Did anyone specifically request / order you to leave? Or you chose to leave on your own? But then you mention you spent the next day replacing some of the broken windshields.
We left on our own, as we felt it was safer.

Quote:
When was this? At the time of going to Leh, on the way to Pangong, on the way back from Pangong, or on the way back from Leh?
Rental vehicles, i.e. chauffeured taxis, from both Srinagar and Manali had always been allowed free movement between these cities and Leh. And it has been the case for many many years that these taxis were blocked from going towards Pangong / Nubra by the Leh Tax Union - or for that matter, Manali-registered taxis were prevented from going towards Kargil, and Srinagar-registered taxis stopped from proceeding down the Leh-Manali highway. The drivers of these cars are already aware that not obeying this diktat leads to damaged cars, and do not try to go beyond certain road limits.
We realize that now. Posting for the benefits of others who might have taken the news lightly.
The roads were flooded with Zoomcar & Myles rental Scorpios.


Quote:
The self-drive rental reaching Leh is a new phenomenon, and the taxi union wants that the same limit applies for these vehicles too, since they are, by definition, taxis from outside Ladakh. But the people at the wheel, i.e. people like us, have different thoughts and ideas, that differ from the mindset of the Srinagar / Manali taxi drivers. Their attempts to peaceably prevent these taxis from proceeding to Nubra / Pangong are ignored, the cars hide in convoys of private-registered vehicles and try to slip past the taxi union people's roadblocks/checkpoints, and then the unionwalas resort to strong-arm tactics to catch them on the way back, and teach them a lesson.
This we were not aware of.

Quote:
Till today, not a single private-registered vehicle has been stopped or vandalized, whether travelling individually or in convoys. The trouble only begins with vehicles bearing yellow plates with black digits, or black plates with yellow digits - and if one forces a confrontation, well, similar confrontations will happen. As I said before, This is a despicable act of vandalism and strong-arm tactics by a group with vested interests - no two ways about that. I don't support this in any way, but then, as travellers, we do need to conform to local rules, whether written or unwritten.
Rumour has it that they are even checking private vehicles to ensure they belong to the driver. So please take a private vehicle that you own, and not your distant relative.
I beg to differ to the statement on local unwritten rules though. We are one country, and Leh is a place many car enthusiasts dream to drive to. Not all of us have SUVs or cars that can handle those terrains, and not all of us can afford the high tariffs the local Taxi union charges.
Heck the only reason I went was for the drive - nothing else. This is simply bullying and I am sure in the long run it will affect all the other tourist generated businesses such as restaurants and hotels.

Just for the record - the hotel and restaurant owners are amongst the nicest people I have met. At one place, a restaurant owner himself dropped me back to my hotel as the taxi was taking time. Needless to say, I would recommend his establishment to all my friends who are going to Leh.
That is how you attract tourists.
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Old 18th July 2015, 16:43   #100
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This type of behaviour scares me. I was planning on going to Leh next year, a road trip in my car all the way from Chennai. But now am wondering if it is worth it to drive all the way to just get harassed and my pride and joy getting damaged. As many of you have already said maybe if we boycott visiting Leh/ Ladakh region for a year they will understand the message loud and clear.
I have a doubt other than all the private registered vehicles in your convoy did they also attack private registered vehicles that were not a part of your convoy?

Last edited by Shanksta : 18th July 2015 at 16:45.
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Old 18th July 2015, 17:13   #101
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Can we all simply write to the local MP? Being from the BJP (and not a local party) he should understand that this kind of behavior is not conducive to the interest of Ladakhis!
http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/Members...spx?mpsno=4089
thupstan.chhewang@sansad.nic.in
thupstanc@yahoo.co.in
Thupstan Chhewang

Can someone compose a decent polite email with photos that everyone can copy paste and send to him?

Let's also post on his campaign FB page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thups...27844930654952

Quote:
Originally Posted by johy View Post
I deplore the violence, but this is well said, SS Traveller. I have travelled a lot in the West Bengal/Sikkim hills, both in my own vehicle and rented jeeps and cars. And there are places you reach and the hotel/agent insists you take a local taxi for "sight seeing." I find nothing wrong with it. It is a source of livelihood for them folks and has been for many years. It is a way to support the local economy and catch up on the local gossip too.
Johy,

I'm sorry but you seem to be missing the point here by miles, or you probably don't mind paying big taxi fees. 99.99% of the folks on this thread do.

The rates of the Ladakh taxi union are fairly stiff by anyone's standard. I would rather not visit Ladakh, than be forced to spend 8-10k for each single circuit. Please see - http://devilonwheels.com/leh-ladakh-taxi-rates-2015-16/ its cheaper to drive down from delhi than it is to spend a bomb on all these taxis. I'm happy not going to Ladakh at this rate.

I endured this nonsense in Sikkim and it was the single reason I am not terribly excited about going back there or visiting the north east. Even in 2008, in Sikkim, either you paid 2400 a seat in a totally battered mahindra or you paid 20k for a rented scorpio. Zero comfort either ways - I'd gladly want to go there only if I can drive. Else I am happy at home in Himachal - its the sikkimese who're losing out on tourism, not me.

Last edited by phamilyman : 18th July 2015 at 17:31.
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Old 18th July 2015, 17:52   #102
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
This is a despicable act of vandalism and strong-arm tactics by a group with vested interests - no two ways about that.

However, I would request you for certain clarifications regarding the sequence of events:

Which make of vehicles were these? From which self-drive company? Were all members of the convoy connected / related / friendly with each other? Were you travelling as a convoy from Delhi itself?
I understand that taxiwalas tried to wave down your convoy while proceeding towards Chang La / Pangong, to prevent you from going there. But the convoy did not stop. Why not? You already knew that the taxiwalas did not want the rental vehicles to proceed towards Pangong, didn't you?
So, with your private registration plates, you were not targeted at all at this time.
Which two - the self-drive rentals? Or ones with private plates?
So the crowd you mention above was very near the Karu roundabout? And they chased you after you had crossed them without being targeted? Or do you think they were trying to chase and stop the rental cars specifically?
Was this a rental car or a privately registered car? Please post pics of damage to the rental cars as well.
What stickers?
Was there any conversation / communication involved between yourselves and the crowd, before they attacked the private vehicles?
So they were not actually trying to physically harm persons, but their primary focus was on damaging the vehicles. Any minor injury was essentially collateral damage. Is that correct?
But you chose to ignore the policeman's gesture.
This was at the Leh police station? How long after the stoning incident?
Did anyone specifically request / order you to leave? Or you chose to leave on your own? But then you mention you spent the next day replacing some of the broken windshields.
When was this? At the time of going to Leh, on the way to Pangong, on the way back from Pangong, or on the way back from Leh?
Rental vehicles, i.e. chauffeured taxis, from both Srinagar and Manali had always been allowed free movement between these cities and Leh. And it has been the case for many many years that these taxis were blocked from going towards Pangong / Nubra by the Leh Tax Union - or for that matter, Manali-registered taxis were prevented from going towards Kargil, and Srinagar-registered taxis stopped from proceeding down the Leh-Manali highway. The drivers of these cars are already aware that not obeying this diktat leads to damaged cars, and do not try to go beyond certain road limits.

The self-drive rental reaching Leh is a new phenomenon, and the taxi union wants that the same limit applies for these vehicles too, since they are, by definition, taxis from outside Ladakh. But the people at the wheel, i.e. people like us, have different thoughts and ideas, that differ from the mindset of the Srinagar / Manali taxi drivers. Their attempts to peaceably prevent these taxis from proceeding to Nubra / Pangong are ignored, the cars hide in convoys of private-registered vehicles and try to slip past the taxi union people's roadblocks/checkpoints, and then the unionwalas resort to strong-arm tactics to catch them on the way back, and teach them a lesson.

Till today, not a single private-registered vehicle has been stopped or vandalized, whether travelling individually or in convoys. The trouble only begins with vehicles bearing yellow plates with black digits, or black plates with yellow digits - and if one forces a confrontation, well, similar confrontations will happen. As I said before, This is a despicable act of vandalism and strong-arm tactics by a group with vested interests - no two ways about that. I don't support this in any way, but then, as travellers, we do need to conform to local rules, whether written or unwritten.
SS-Traveller, Lamborghini has already clarified most points, let me add a few:

No attempt was made by anyone to wave down or stop the self-drive rentals from going towards Pangong Lake. They were only stopped on the return journey at Karu. The drivers of these vehicles stopped and talked to the taxi-mafia who were self-policing that point. They were not interested in merely talking and tried to snatch the keys of the vehicle. At this point anyone surrounded by an angry mob would protest or try and make an escape. In the ensuing melee, the mob attacked the vehicle and the driver was left with no option but to make an escape. I would not reason with someone piercing my vehicle with an iron rod and nor did they.

As I mentioned we were in a private vehicle towards the end of the convoy. When we approached Karu, a crowd was gathered on both sides of the road and we could sense that there had been a problem. The rest of the convoy had already left from the scene. As I outlined earlier, as we were totally unconnected with the incident, the crowd stared at us when we arrived. Instead of panicking, we drove slowly through them and were allowed to pass. When we stopped 50 metres ahead at the roundabout (due to an army convoy blocking it), they must have seen our stickers and realising that we were connected to the same convoy, they DID attack both our vehicles. We managed to escape with a damaged bumper on the Fortuner and a broken windshield on the Innova.

Following this first incident we removed our stickers to dissociate ourselves from the convoy and all 15 private vehicles for all intents and purposes were just that from that point- privately owned and driven vehicles. The two self drive rental vehicles were NOT with the rest of the scattered vehicles making their way to Leh.

What happened at the second point, just before the main roundabout at Leh, is really scary stuff. Personally, we were stuck between the central divider and some trucks on the left, that were stuck due to the traffic jam ahead because of the huge mob. We were stoned from a distance when stationary and at no point did anyone approach us to establish our identity or ownership of the vehicle.

When stones are being showered on your vehicle from every direction with you and your family inside, no sane minded person will stop in the centre of a mob when trying to be stopped by a policeman who was NOT trying to control the mob and rather stopping you!

We spent the Sunday, 12th July repairing vehicles and left on Monday. Even on Sunday, we heard reports of an unconnected traveller in his Audi Q5, who had gone up to Shanti Stupa, who was harassed by a group of 7-8 taxi drivers who asked for his vehicle papers (whoever gave them the right to be the police) and even after establishing that he was the owner and driver of the vehicle, he was asked to leave and threatened with vehicle damage!

You make correct and valid points with regards to the 'unwritten' rules for taxis operating in that region. However, nobody has a right to stone any vehicle with people inside it for any reason, let alone a perceived loss of business. Life is more precious than any of these thugs business who're trying to have a monopoly over tourist transport. And make no mistake, their intent was to harm, they hit a young boy with a stone on the upper arm and tried to drag him out whilst his sister was driving and they hit a woman with a stone when she was protecting her face when being stoned whilst seated in the front passenger seat of another vehicle.

This is not my first trip to Leh. I am not into scare-mongering. I kept within all legal boundaries when I took my month-old vehicle with my parents for a holiday to a peaceful Buddhist area. We were lucky that only our vehicle is currently in the body shop and we are safely home. This is a first hand account of events as they unfolded, they may not recur, but every traveller to that region needs to be aware and at-least some message should go to the taxi mafia that they cannot get away with anything they desire to do with someone else's lives or their hard-earned purchases.
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Old 18th July 2015, 17:54   #103
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Mod Note: Ashnd's 2nd update on this thread has been added to the opening page (so no one misses it). It's now post #2 of this thread.
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Old 18th July 2015, 18:48   #104
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

My Driving License says "License to drive vehicles throughout India" . If i have the proper vehicle papers and clearance from the army/authorities, I believe no union or taxi wallah has the right to stop me anywhere in the Country.
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Old 18th July 2015, 19:33   #105
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashnd View Post
....
The drivers of these vehicles stopped and talked to the taxi-mafia who were self-policing that point. They were not interested in merely talking and tried to snatch the keys of the vehicle. At this point anyone surrounded by an angry mob would protest or try and make an escape. In the ensuing melee, the mob attacked the vehicle and the driver was left with no option but to make an escape....
I believe that argument between the 2 guys driving the self-drive rental cars and the taxi-operators is key to understanding why things escalated to the level they did. Any more details would be highly appreciated and would help understand what happened better.

Were any of the remaining private-vehicle occupants from the convoy also part of the heated argument? Just because of problem with 2 cars, the taxi-operators taking on the entire convoy of 15 vehicles seems illogical/unreasonable.

Quote:
.....
We managed to escape with a damaged bumper on the Fortuner and a broken windshield on the Innova.
.....
A bit confused here. The Fortuner pics in the opening post, are they of your Fortuner or of the self-drive rental?
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