B’luru Cabbies Go on Strike After Driver Who Self-Immolated Dies

Many cab drivers gathered at the Bengaluru airport and raised slogans to protest Pratap’s death.

2 min read
Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. Image used for representational purposes. 

A section of cab drivers who work with app-hailed services like Ola, Uber, and government-managed Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) to ferry passengers to and from the Bengaluru airport went on strike on Wednesday, 31 March.

The strike was announced a day after a KSTDC cab driver, Pratap, died of burn injuries that he sustained on Tuesday, 30 March, afternoon when he set himself on fire at the Bengaluru airport’s parking area.

Pratap was allegedly protesting against the lack of government help over the economic distress caused due to fuel price hike and bad business, since the COVID induced lockdown. He had suffered 70 percent burn injuries, and succumbed.

Many cab drivers gathered at the Bengaluru airport and raised slogans to protest Pratap's death.

In view of the strike called by the cab drivers, Bangalore Airport Limited, which operates the Kempegowda International Airport, has issued an advisory. Passengers travelling to and from the airport have been advised to either take Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses that are made available at the airport, or make alternative arrangements to reach the airport on time.

“Taxi services at BLR Airport are impacted. Passengers are requested to use the BMTC bus service for travel to and from BLR Airport or make their own travel arrangements,” the advisory issued on Wednesday said. “We will inform you once services are back to normal. For queries, reach us on feedback@bialairport.com or 080 2201 2001,” it added.

Pratap's death has sparked protests among cab drivers in the city as well, which could mean some taxi services may be impacted in Bengaluru as well. A section of the drivers on Wednesday morning staged a protest outside the residence of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families:

  • Tamil Nadu
    State health department's suicide helpline: 104
    Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
  • Andhra Pradesh
    Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
    Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
  • Karnataka
    Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
  • Kerala
    Maithri: 0484 2540530
    Chaithram: 0484 2361161
    Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
  • Telangana
    State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
    Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
    SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)
  • Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
    24x7 Helpline: 9820466726, Click
    here for working helplines across India.

(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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