Deccan Chronicle

Taxi drivers clash at Cochin International Airport; 6 held

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: October 12, 2017 | Updated on: October 12, 2017

Traditional-online row turns ugly again.

Traditional taxi drivers hold a protest meet at Nedumbassery on Thursday.

Traditional taxi drivers hold a protest meet at Nedumbassery on Thursday.

KOCHI: The Nedumbassery police on Thursday took six persons into custody in connection with clashes between online and offline taxi drivers on Wednesday night outside the main entrance of the Cochin International Airport. Although the police initially dispersed them, clashes erupted again when a driver of a taxi hailing services reached there to pick up passengers. The traditional taxi operators at CIAL suspended services on Thursday in protest against the police action. A section of drivers attached to cab aggregators also struck work. An airport spokesperson said they had made alternative arrangements for passengers following the strike. 

It deployed five vans and a bus for ferrying them to Aluva and Angamaly. Police said those in custody and others would be booked under various sections including attempts to murder and assault. They stepped up vigil to prevent such incidents. T.R.S. Kumar, president, Online Taxi Drivers Union, said the action by airport taxi drivers was a clear violation of the Kerala High Court order upholding their right to pick up and drop passengers from public space.  "We will soon file a petition seeking to revive the contempt petition which is already pending before the HC," he said. 

The HC issued an order to this effect in March 2016, while considering a petition by a person named Navas C., an online taxi driver beaten up at the airport. Denying the charges, CIAL Taxi Operators Cooperative Society said the online cabs were asked not to canvass passengers.  "They had canvassed about 15 passengers the other day, and we were forced to intervene," said Eldho Yohannan of the society.  "The 600-odd pre-paid taxis are depending solely on the airport passengers. The HC order does not permit canvassing." 

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