Ola was dragged into a controversy after a Twitter user named Kanav Sharma took to the micro-blogging platform on Friday to flag an unpleasant experience that he had with the driver during one of his rides recently.
Kanav Sharma wrote, “Dear @Olacabs, it would be much better if your drivers would focus on driving than overhearing conversations and taggin people anti-nationals during their driving duties.”
It all began after the driver overheard Kanav’s phone conversation where he was talking about India’s economic situation, says the passenger.
Explaining the situation in a series of tweets, Kanav claims that the driver said, “only 6 years of Modi government, how can you blame economy?” It is Congress’s fault of 70 years. I asked him, so what all wrongs did Congress do?”
The driver apparently replied, “Congress created JNU which is a prostitution hub of Tukde Tukde gang. You know who was Nehru? He was India’s first PM but his grandfather was a Muslim who converted to Hinduism to fool Indian people.”
Kanav says he told the driver to check his facts and “even if your belief is true, so how does it affect me? I am concerned about the economy and it’s not good!”
To this, Kanav claims the driver snapped back, “You are one of those anti-national people who find everything wrong with the government. You must also be against CAA and NRC.”
After the passenger said he was against these, the conversation continued, “where was your opposition when Kashmiri Pandits were raped and murdered.”
Kanav claims at one point he told the driver that he didn’t want to engage in a debate with him but the driver continued, “I agree, your forefathers should have migrated to Pakistan. Our country would be cleaner without people of your thoughts.”
Kanav rounds off his tweets by saying, “Destination arrived. I deboarded peacefully. The depth to which BJP’s propaganda and fake news has reached, it is getting really scary.”
After Kanav flagged the incident, Ola Support reached out to the passenger and said, “We are sorry about your bad experience. We have reported the driver-partner for corrective action and would ensure to avoid these instances in the future. Hope to serve you better."
No sooner had Ola put out this statement, there was a barrage of comments from people, espsecially right wing supporters, urging the company not to take any action against the driver and warning it to be ready for loss of business if it did.
Please don’t fire the driver. He can be counselled not to share his opinions, as it may upset the customer, but please don’t take away his livelihood just for his views.— Amrita Bhinder (@amritabhinder) January 24, 2020
Forget about taking action ola should have simply replied that like every Indian citizen ola driver also has freedom of expression. Matter should have laid to rest. But the liberal virus is very dangerous.— Nawneet Mohan (@nawneet_mohan) January 24, 2020
Ola, the passenger and driver engaged in a chat that eventually went bad. There is no unprofessional behaviour in the above on part of the driver.— Sarvesh Tiwari (@bhAratenduH) January 24, 2020
I prefer you over Uber, but If I learn you have taken any “corrective action” on driver, incl. verbal, you shall lose my business.
Have you no shame at all? Do you think that your partner drivers are slaves? What sorta overentitled douchebaggery is this?— Aakash (Double Aey Kay Aye Ess Ech) (@Ateendriyo) January 24, 2020
This bloke is being an entitled fool. Drivers are humans and entitled to an opinion and they're allowed to speak. Probably was brought up to ill treat and silence drivers, cleaners and the like. Anywhere in the world, cabbies chat with customers about various things. It's human.— ᴠɪɴ ɴᴀɪʀ (@vinsinners) January 24, 2020
Faced with a volley of critical remarks, Ola subsequently put out another statement, “We are respectful of all personal views and like India's democratic values, encourage healthy exchange of thoughts. None of the parties involved in this case have been penalized from using the platform and we urge everyone to respect difference of opinion at all times.”
We are respectful of all personal views and like India's democratic values, encourage healthy exchange of thoughts. None of the parties involved in this case have been penalized from using the platform and we urge everyone to respect difference of opinion at all times. @kanavdm https://t.co/JlfFPFJ1no— Ola (@Olacabs) January 24, 2020
This was met with approval from several Twitter users who lauded Ola for upholding the driver’s freedom of speech.
Thanks for not penalising the driver for having a different opinion than the rider and also appreciate that you didn't give in to the bullying by some self certified idiot— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) January 24, 2020
But that Kanav Guy is dangerous he will poke another driver. Beware.— SuperStar Raj (@NagpurKaRajini) January 24, 2020
Also in my experience no driver ever speaks on his own unless you engage if you don't speak to him he won't ever bother and keep driving.
Chalo will install back your APP and going forward Ignore such folks
Thank you Olacabs for respecting the freedom of speech of a driver who had no access to Twitter to put his part of story out.— C@cofonix (@Cacofonix1008) January 24, 2020