“Chennai police are the main reason behind my death. No one else,” a frustrated looking cab driver said in a video he’d shot of himself prior to killing himself. “Earlier, another driver, too, had died by suicide, but no action was taken. When questioned you say that you’ve transferred people, but ultimately nothing is done,” he said.
The driver, who has been identified as 25-year-old Rajesh Murthy, worked for NTL Taxi service and killed himself, allegedly due to constant harassment by police in the city. His body was found on the railway tracks near Maraimalai Nagar, on the outskirts of Chennai city on January 25. Following his death, several cab drivers in Chennai protested in front of the DLF building in the city’s Ramapuram neighborhood on Wednesday.
Rajesh had taken a video of himself prior to his death, which is now being circulated on several channels and media outlets. In the video, Rajesh has alleged that he was being pushed to suicide because of the “torture by Chennai city traffic police.”
In the video he spoke of the most recent incident of harassment. Rajesh said in the video, uploaded to Youtube on January 30, that he was being abused by various police officials around the city.
Rajesh recounted that he had picked up his first passenger at DLF, a woman, and was waiting to pick up another passenger on the side of the road, when two police officers banged on the back of the car and told him he was not allowed to park in the place. He then took the car and parked it at a different spot at a little further down. Rajesh said that the road was completely empty and that no one was around. The policemen however came to the car again and began abusing him and asking why he had parked his car at the spot.
Following this, he alleged that the policemen used derogatory words against him. “Wherever I go, they (police) create a problem. Last night I was stopped on the side of a service road and sleeping when the police came and locked the car. They demanded Rs 500 as a fine for the same. When I asked them to give me a bill, they began abusing me (verbally), asking me how I could speak against them,” he said.
Rajesh then went on to say that cab drivers such as himself are faced with such harassment from police officials on a regular basis.
Earlier in 2018, a similar incident had occured when a 21-year-old cab driver had set himself on fire near Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) after being allegedly abused verbally and physically by policemen.