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Old 17th July 2015, 15:00   #1
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Default Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I have an unfortunate first-hand experience to share. We have just returned from our Leh Ladakh trip yesterday.

We traveled in our own brand new Fortuner with a convoy of 15 vehicles which also had two self-drive rental vehicles. Unaware of the goings on and the extent to which these taxi union people could go to, all 15 vehicles did the local sightseeing circuit. On our way back from Pangong Lake, the two self-drive vehicles were stopped. Their windows were smashed, a huge stone was smashed onto the bonnet and iron rods were used to pierce the bodywork. We were the last car in the convoy and did not see any of this happening. We sensed something was amiss when we reached the spot and having no other option, we carried on calmly through the crowd gathered on both sides. Unfortunately, there was a jam at the Karu roundabout and two of our cars stopped. I saw the crowd running towards us in the rear view mirror and we managed to escape as soon as one of them kicked our rear bumper.

The other car ahead of us was not as lucky and had their rear windscreen smashed. They however managed to reverse and escape. We then regrouped further ahead and decided to take our stickers off. This way the convoy vehicles would not stand out from regular traffic. We then proceeded to Leh via the Leh-Manali road. Unknown to us, the Karu taxi people had phoned ahead and laid a trap on the road leading to the main Leh roundabout. The spot was well chosen, as they had caused a traffic jam and the central divider was too high for a vehicle to climb over.

One by one, ALL our private vehicles were stoned and attacked. They paid no regard to occupants of the vehicle and huge stones were hurled at private vehicles. Three in our convoy sustained minor injuries. We were fortunate that no-one was seriously hurt. We had to nearly ram our way through the crowd. Fortunately they parted and we were able to escape. A policeman was standing in front of the crowd and gesturing for us to stop rather than controlling the crowd.

We were discouraged from registering an FIR and did not see any concrete action being taken against the offenders. We had to leave Leh the a day later under police escort. Even otherwise, all through the route, the taxi drivers were tail-gating us and coming onto our side of the road, just to cause an accident and to instigate us into getting into a tussle with them. This has been a truly harrowing experience that we will never forget. I would advise extreme caution when travelling to Leh in the near future even if going by private vehicle. Please do not even consider taking a self-drive rental to this part of the country under the present circumstances.
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Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!-tbhp-1.jpg  

Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!-tbhp-2.jpg  


Last edited by Rehaan : 17th July 2015 at 17:25. Reason: Adding paragraph spacing for readability.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:00   #2
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Note from mod : Dashcam video added to post



Thank you all for your support and sharing this further. As most of us are so passionate about this issue, here are some further facts:
  • A few cars from the convoy had not reached the mob when the first few were attacked. So as soon as we escaped the mob, we called the rest to warn them of the danger. The rest of the cars then took shelter in an army camp and some at the police station. The police stressed on the fact that the IPC did not apply in Ladakh and they followed RPC (Ranbir Penal Code). They threatened our group that they had the power under RPC to arrest them if they wanted. They only accepted a 'general' FIR- essentially a written statement from us. They further warned that for a 'proper' FIR they would impound the vehicles involved and then it would be a matter of court dates and releasing the vehicles on 'superdari'.
  • The ITBP refused to help flat out. This was immediately after the incident when some from our group were seeking protection.
  • The Military Police were very helpful the next day and organised car workshops to be opened on the next day which happened to be a Sunday. We were able to replace some of the broken windscreens this way.
  • There is infact a video from a dashcam installed on the self-drive Fortuner, which was from the first attack at Karu. I shall endeavour to source this and post it too.
  • The owner of the hotel we stayed at shared the following background data: Leh's population is 30000. There are 10000 taxis in Leh, so one- third of the population owns taxis and it constitutes a sizeable number of the population. Every year, in the tourist season, 300000 tourists visit Leh. That equates to 250 tourists a day. And the number of cabs to be filled a day is 10000. Thus they are sometimes unable to make their loan payments at times. Interestingly, the local SHO also owns 3 taxis, so it's in his interest not to allow self-drive rentals!
  • The mob spared no-one. Two Thars in our convoy were driven by ladies, and both vehicles were attacked by iron rods. They even tried to pull out the passenger from one Thar after breaking his window with a stone and hitting him on the upper arm. Fortunately the door lock knob broke and they were unable to open the door. They then sped away from the scene.
  • We have brought with us the stone that smashed our Fortuner's rear window, it landed inches from my aged mother on the rear seat behind the driver. I will share a picture of this.
Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!-10407753_10153579914880815_3309992305539664818_n.jpg

Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!-11752494_10153579912505815_6391883953455108788_n.jpg

Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!-63405_10153579911675815_3617985419426566272_n.jpg

Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!-crv.jpg

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 25th July 2015 at 08:59. Reason: Adding your latest updates to the opening page
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:28   #3
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

Damn, this is such a hooliganism. I have always thought of the hill people as the nicest of all India, but the above incidence is absolutely harrowing.

Are you planning to take any action soon? With even the police in gloves with the local miscreants, such incidences may harm the tourism in future.

EDIT: Previously the opposition was only for self driven rented cars. But now they are targetting even the private cars?! Hope some top brass wakes up before situation deteriorates too much.

Last edited by ani_meher : 17th July 2015 at 15:46.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:30   #4
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

^ If the local Police did not help. Please get a complaint registered with Ministry of home affairs, atleast tweet them the details.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:42   #5
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Unhappy Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashnd View Post
I have an unfortunate first-hand experience to share. We have just returned from our Leh Ladakh trip yesterday. We traveled in our own brand new Fortuner with a convoy of 15 vehicles ...
Thanks for sharing this experience and forewarning others.

Really sad that they could do this to your new vehicle

We cant let the taxi mafia hold us to ransom like this....not a good sign at all.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:44   #6
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

I've tweeted the above post to @HMOIndia . I would encourage other bhp-ians to report this incident via twitter/FB.

Unless this hooliganism is widely publicized, this won't stop.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:45   #7
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
such incidences may harm the tourism in future.
I would not go till the situation improves and for the situation to improve, we have to collectively STOP going to that region.

They are just being greedy. I would request everyone to make this viral, at least this is what I think of. If any better suggestions or alternatives, please chip in.

Last edited by Sheel : 17th July 2015 at 15:51.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:47   #8
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Absolute idiocy. This one incident is going to put off so many people who were anyway in two minds. I know I am completely against the idea of a drive to the place. Let them keep it, and enjoy it. I hope the taxi walas have fun toting goats. And I hope the other support functions, hotels, eateries, etc, throw stones at their cars once they realize what these guys have done for the business.
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Old 17th July 2015, 15:51   #9
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashnd View Post
I have an unfortunate first-hand experience to share. We have just returned from our Leh Ladakh trip yesterday.

Sorry to hear about this incident and thank god that no one was seriously hurt. This is my worst nightmare coming true i.e surrounded by violent mob which is keen to attach you.

Well, the day is not far when tourists will stop visiting such unwelcoming people/places. The wonderful natural beauty of Leh will fall short to attract tourists, if basic individual safety is non-existent in the place.
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Old 17th July 2015, 16:03   #10
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

Absolutely terrible... almost unbelievable; Can something of this audacity and scale remain unanswered by law-enforcement agencies?

Really a shame, thinking ahead to next season:

Manali: effectively shut down due to the NGT bans.
Kashmir Valley: effectively shut down due to terrorist threats.
Ladakh: effectively shut down due to fear re: lawless and unchecked violence of local tourism operators who hate tourists (but love their money).

As if acts of God (re: the Uttarkhand floods) weren't enough!

The big question: Should everyone just start saving up for that dream holiday in the Swiss Alps???

Only trouble is that, having seen both, in terms of the inspiring natural grandeur and adventure on offer, I'd still prefer (with many others) the Himalayas. But now there are all the downsides (in the Ladakh case, not insignificant fears of becoming victims of violent crimes) that normal people are being forced to deal with.

I was planning for Ladakh (fifth time?) in September. Not feeling so inclined at present. Why should I do anything to benefit them, when they'd just as soon attack me?

This has gone too far, and community leaders in Ladakh ought to be denouncing this sort of activity instead of supporting the ban.

I also think the Ministry of Tourism, if nobody else, ought to have something to say about all this; can there be some guidance provided / message passed down from a Central Government level?

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 17th July 2015 at 16:05.
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Old 17th July 2015, 16:18   #11
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Default Re: Ladakh Taxi Mafia passes resolution banning Self-drive rentals!

This is horrible. Really horrible. I have already tweeted this link, and will post this on Facebook as and when time permits. We should spread this hooliganism far and wide on the social media.

I can understand that tourism is the only source of income for the locals there, but this is taking things too far. Totally unacceptable.
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:28   #12
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Thanks for sharing, am sure it was a terrifying incident. Glad that no one was seriously injured.
This is going to negatively impact tourism to the region and unless these taxi unions understand that it's going to be difficult to attract more tourists.
As @Sheel has mentioned, I think avoiding the place is something that can make these people understand that their move is wrong.
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:41   #13
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

They should realize that this is totally against what India is saying for its tourists - Atithi devo bhava! Stopping vehicles is one thing and attacking is another.

They have forgotten that they are supported by Army all year around. May be army should just take control on the situation and ensure that civilians are not troubled by these goons.
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:43   #14
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Thank God that you guys are safe. It was unfortunate and vehicles can be repaired not bones.

This is really not acceptable. Tourism is their main source of income however acts like these will surely reduce the tourism in that area and the final losers will be the locals themselves. Not sure if there would be any govt action on this.
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:57   #15
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Angry Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

OUTRAGEOUS!!

This is a violation of your rights as an INDIAN CITIZEN to travel to any part of the country which has not been restricted by GOI.

Police failing to take action and not registering an FIR is against the laws of the nation and it summarily proves that they are acting against you or colluding with the taxi mafia.

This cannot, or rather MUST not go unchallenged. We as a community and each of us as individuals must escalate this to the highest level possible.

Imagine if it was a family travelling alone and children were in the car. Or imagine foreign tourists, they'd understand the meaning of "Athithi devo bhava ". This is nothing short of human rights violation and a blatant act of threat to life. I sincerely hope Ministry of Home affairs and JK govt take necessary steps to stop this hooliganism or this will spread to other parts of the country.

Regards
Sunny

Last edited by Autodoc : 17th July 2015 at 18:05.
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