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Old 18th July 2015, 19:41   #106
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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

I reiterate, local rules can never substitute for murderous intent. That's evidently what was on display by such terrorists - make no mistake - their deeds are no less heinous than those of gun-wielding terrorists.

Certain posts on this forum espouse that local rules apply in such places - and therefore indirectly provide encouragement for these practices to continue. How? By dissuading ordinary citizenry from taking their own vehicles, in effect, putting them at the mercy of the same taxi-operators.

But allow me to remind everyone, that acquiescence is nothing short of accepting exploitation.

That being said, on my recent trip, I had the good fortune to meet with a couple of good taxi operators as well-who have been driving tourists around for years. I also had the misfortune of coming across a bad 'un from the taxi union. I had no compunction in giving him the boot... more about this incident will be posted in my travelog. Not all taxi operators are bad. The senior guys (i.e. those that are middle-aged and have been doing this for years & years) are very helpful.

It's the young, inexperienced, unsettled lot, that have a chip on their shoulder. They are recent entrants to this business, and view out-of-state vehicles as competition. They will try pressure tactics - such as when they are coming downhill - not giving way to opposing traffic , tailing out-of-state vehicles and almost pushing them off the road. During such instances, it's better to give them the right of way - rather than get involved in a road-rage incident. Avoid a confrontation.

But UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, local rules or otherwise, should one be intimidated by this lot, and be forced to leave their vehicle behind in the hotel, as well as be exploited by them by paying them astronomical sums of money. That would be doing what these terrorists want us to do.
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Old 18th July 2015, 19:48   #107
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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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.


A bit confused here. The Fortuner pics in the opening post, are they of your Fortuner or of the self-drive rental?
As described above, one of the mob attempted to snatch the key of the rental Fortuner, upon which the driver rolled up his window and revved his engine. The crowd then smashed his vehicle left, right and centre and he then made his escape after realising there was no reasoning with them and having noone to defend him but just his wife in the vehicle with him.

The opening pics are of my own Fortuner. The rental vehicle was damaged even further, a huge stone was smashed onto its bonnet.

There was nothing logical or reasonable about what they did. They are taking the law into their own hands, right from demanding vehicle papers of private vehicles to stoning vehicles with people inside them.
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Old 18th July 2015, 19:53   #108
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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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.
I am sorry, that is not how it works in LEH which is open throughout the year for tourism and people do travel by flights to LEH throughout when roads are closed from Kargil or Manali to Leh. Yes there are slack seasons in between because of snow but that is applicable to the Ooty and Kodaikanals too when schools and colleges are open. Secondly, during the snow season, army guys and families of army guys too use these taxis and are rented and the taxi guys make a living, how do I know this ? Because I became friends with a taxi driver in Leh who drives a Xylo and I still keep in touch with him.

Everything has a business model, pro's and con's, nothing is perfect and there is always competition, you decide how you beat the competition, by changing your model or in this case literally beating the competition.

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Also, it was mighty big of that gentleman to politely respond to your rather ridiculous byomkesh bakshi style questioning. Really hope you recognise and appreciate that. You may not have been as lucky with many others
I agree Felt exactly the same when i read that.

Last edited by humyum : 18th July 2015 at 20:21.
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Old 18th July 2015, 20:02   #109
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Not sure what more needs to happen before people can open their eyes to the anarchy that prevails

Even after all this; people are still planning their laddakhi sojourns

Shame on them! A typical indian mindset viz. "it's not my problem, so I don't have to deal with it"

An outright boycott of this area will be extremely effective. Starvation will make these animals see the light. But alas, many a sheep will continue to wander these lands n feed these hyenas ...... Only emboldening them and their resolve even further

Hope their thick skins help them survive the cold wrath of these criminals

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
we do need to conform to local rules, whether written or unwritten.
"anarchy" - because probably unknowingly that's what you are recommending here!

We have too many unwritten local laws that super cede the actual written formal law in our country.

If you are a "son of the soil", you can drag women by their hair for being "indecent and immoral". Unless you were born in a particular state, you are not allowed to live / work there. There's a festival today, so I can ride around town, 3 up without a helmet at break neck speeds ........... Coz you know - how else do u celebrate!

Also, it was mighty big of that gentleman to politely respond to your rather ridiculous byomkesh bakshi style questioning. Really hope you recognise and appreciate that. You may not have been as lucky with many others

Last edited by GTO : 4th August 2015 at 12:34. Reason: Removing rude bit
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Old 18th July 2015, 20:23   #110
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by Urban_Nomad View Post
Not sure what more needs to happen before people can open their eyes to the anarchy that prevails

Even after all this; people are still planning their ladddakhi sojourns


We have too many unwritten local laws that super cede the actual written formal law in our country.
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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.
I do not understand the concept of these unwritten laws. The constitution and the IPC is written and well defined so I am not sure why I am supposed to adhere to these foolish unwritten laws. What is the legal pretext behind them banning self driven rentals on their own? If we allow these "local rules" to continue without protesting then pretty soon we shall all be paying tens of thousands of rupees to the taxi mafia while the same trip would have set us back a fraction of the cost in our own cars. I have seen taxi operators in ladakh and sikkim charging to the tune of 25rs per km. I find that to be exorbitantly high. Just because someone buys a taxi does not mean that he can start snatching business by hooliganism and dissuading travellers from exercising basic fundamental rights.
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Old 18th July 2015, 20:29   #111
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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
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.
What gives anyone the right to vandalize anyones car regardless of the colour of the plates. Just because 2/3rds of the population of Ladakh has bought and runs taxis and the local SHO also owns 3 taxis, that doesnt give them the right to vandalize out of state taxis or self drive rentals.

Being a traveller should not put me at the mercy of local hooliganism. Its no crime to be a traveller in whatever form.

What unwritten local rules?
I would shudder to imagine if all the states and tourist places started coming up with their own unwritten rules that we need to respect. Then we should forget driving. Lets start doing "padyatras" !!

LADAKH TAXI ASSOCIATION - forming/having a taxi association does not give them the right to set rules that infringe the right of freedom of movement of other Indian citizens and to dictate the choices these tourists should make.
Ladakh is not a country and their taxi association is not the government. This applies to all associations everywhere in India.

What right does a taxi driver/ association have, to demand documentation of any other vehicle? Are they a legal authority by virtue of being an association, that they can set written & unwritten rules to dictate the conduct of the rest of the masses of India inside Ladakh?

Such arm wrestling should be dealt with in a similar way. They need to be strictly put in their place and powers curbed. Boycotting Ladakh is not a good strategy since that allows these mafiosi to become even stronger. The tourist influx will surely not reduce just because people who love to drive and live to drive, have stopped going there.

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 18th July 2015 at 20:34.
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Old 18th July 2015, 20:39   #112
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

This is heights of lawlessness and impunity. Another hurdle for people who like to drive around the country. Bad roads, Unruly traffic, scant respect for traffic rules, toll charges for roads which don't exist. The list of impediments for enthusiasts is endless.

Hope the local authorities see the impact of this on tourism and resolve the issue than making it look like another case of banana republic and mobs running the government
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Old 18th July 2015, 20:43   #113
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

From what I gather going thru some parts of this thread, Ladakh has a reasonably high dependency on the taxi business, unlike that in other parts of the country. That said, if the civil administration is hell bent on protecting the interests of the taxi union - they should figure out a legitimate and rational way of doing this - maybe outline some destinations where only local taxis ply - and permits are not easily dispensed - and maybe not extended to scenarios where the car is hired.

I thought such practices are already in place in some places : the Corbett reserve for example - even though that comes from a whole different derivation : does force you to hire a local gypsy for an amount not in line with the service availed.

What I want to stress out is that if the civil administration and lawmakers feels that there is a genuine need to protect the interests of the locals : there might be a way to work something out that is formally implemented. So that there are NO UNWRITTEN RULES.

That said, there has to be ZERO TOLERANCE for any behavior encouraging anybody anywhere to take the law in their own hands. These taxi drivers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

It is a sad state of affairs in India which is encouraging mafias across the nation : sand mafias, parking mafias, taxi mafias - the list just grows every day. The politicians are fueling an anarchy, which, in my opinion, will in time spiral out of their own control. It is an urgent need of the hour to ensure that there is no mafia in this country which considers itself above the law of the land. And this should not be negotiable under any circumstances - even when the perpetrators have a legitimate grievance.
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Old 18th July 2015, 23:13   #114
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This country has gone to the dogs!

How many injustices will we fight against? How many wrongs we will try to right?

Greed has overwhelmed the majority of the population. How many regions can we boycott travelling to? How much time can we take out negotiating roadblocks to a normal existence while making a living for our families?

Wouldn't it be so much simpler to collectively emigrate to a better country and abandon the mostly corrupt citizens of this country to infight to their doom?
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Old 19th July 2015, 07:15   #115
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Someone should take the matter to court. The government of Jammu and Kashmir had to uphold the rule of law, and they have failed totally by letting this go unchecked.
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Old 19th July 2015, 10:31   #116
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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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.
I am sorry, sir, but which point do you think I am missing? And yes, while I do not mind paying taxi fees, if I can afford it, when I can't - I simply don't go. And how would you be the one to determine the magical figure of 99.99%.

First of all, I must reiterate I condone this kind of violence. It is illegal.

As many have pointed out in the thread, our driving licences allow us to drive in all parts of the country. But very often, in these mountain communities, you will find places where a large part of the local economy is dependent on taking tourists around in taxis for sightseeing and the like. And where more and more self-driven vehicles come into the picture, their livelihoods are gradually eroded. And that is the reason, I don't mind paying them. In fact, even for short trips to Darjeeling, I often just take a cabbie and go there. No, I don't mind it.

On a different note, I must mention Sandakphu in West Bengal here. As many of you have read, more and more people are now going there in their self-driven 4x4s. I am pretty sure one of these days the local Jeep association of whatever they call themselves are going to stop other vehicles from going up there. I know your driving licence, just as mine, allows us to go there and drive, but you know how it is going to end. Sad, but inevitable.

On a different note, the same thing applies to trekking. And it will help us understand how this thing works. When I first went to Sandakphu in 1991, we just walked up, carried our own backpacks. We even carried all our dried food. There was no guides. No concept of porters. Now you can't trek there without a guide. And they prefer you take a porter as well. Why? I don't need a guide. I know the place well; I even speak the language fluently. It is because the economy is improvised. Am I responsible for the economy , the way it has turned? No? Can I fight and insist, I am going to trek without a guide? Yes, I can. But I choose not to. I prefer taking a guide or a porter, not because I can't carry my pack or I don't know the way. It is my small way of helping the local economy and I am a firm believer in that. I don't feel I am being forced; I just feel I am doing my bit.

I can understand the very high taxi fees in Ladakh. I was there in January of this year on a trek. While I personally feel it is a completely over-rated place, and like you mentioned very expensive, people will still go there. The same with Sikkim. Many of us will stop going to places because they have become expensive, troublesome, and full of local issues. But people will still go there - with or without us.
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Old 19th July 2015, 10:47   #117
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There can be no rationale of any sort for this kind of thuggery, this is pure arson. Unfortunately this is the the prevailing logic in our country, if some one or group is affected then they feel it is their right to vent their anger on anyone they come across. Barbarism at it's best.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 19th July 2015 at 11:55. Reason: Removing profanity. Please refrain from using them directly or otherwise. Thanks!
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Old 19th July 2015, 11:14   #118
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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It is my small way of helping the local economy and I am a firm believer in that. I don't feel I am being forced; I just feel I am doing my bit.
Helping local economy is one thing, but holding people ransom and damaging property is another.
What next, all auto/cab drivers banning people from driving their own cars?
All restaurant owner's banning people from cooking in their own homes?
All hotel owner's banning people from buying homes?
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Old 19th July 2015, 11:44   #119
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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As many have pointed out in the thread, our driving licences allow us to drive in all parts of the country. But very often, in these mountain communities, you will find places where a large part of the local economy is dependent on taking tourists around in taxis for sightseeing and the like. And where more and more self-driven vehicles come into the picture, their livelihoods are gradually eroded. And that is the reason, I don't mind paying them. In fact, even for short trips to Darjeeling, I often just take a cabbie and go there. No, I don't mind it.
But that is the case everywhere in the world where there is competition. OLA, UBER and those likes came in the picture and the regular Black and Yellow taxis in Mumbai lost a lot of its business, they protested, sometimes even attacked these guys at Airports and where not, but the government said 'nothing doing', everyone has the right to set up business in this country. Some of the black and yellow taxi guys too can only drive a taxi and don't have any skills, so what ? Others should just sit tight and not venture into their business model ?

Going to Ladakh for some of us is about the journey too, some of us take our own cars, some of us rent out cars and drive till there, its a democratic country. Let me give you an example of what could happen if these kind of mafias are allowed to run in every part of India.

Cabbies in Mahabaleshwar will not allow a rental car/self driven rental car to run in and around Mahabaleshwar citing their lively hood only runs on tourism, similar to Ladakh, Same with Ooty Kodaikanal etc.

Slowly the freedoms are curtailed and slowly we start turning into Mini India's with Mini Dictators dictating what we can and can't do.

Just to quote, One of Machiavelli's Principle asserts that it is best for a ruler to be both feared and loved, but if he cannot be both, it is much better to be feared. I hope this government like it has professed all its bravado in the election campaigns is able to bring that fear in the hearts and minds of anyone who tries to go against the law or change the law for their own interests.
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Old 19th July 2015, 12:20   #120
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Boycott the place and get even is an option. In fact, it feels nice to get get even this way. Hit them where it pains the most. But the larger worry is that any dimwit can hold a place to ransom and our spineless law and order mechanism with its numerous dependencies and cheap affiliations prove again and again that if one manages to live through one's years in this country without incident, they have been plain lucky. A silent, benign, frightened population would emerge I presume.
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