A Uber driver who made a detour to take a poet to the Mumbai police after eavesdropping on the man's conversation about the amended Citizenship Act was "awarded" by the BJP as a "watchful citizen". ,
In one photo, Uber driver Rohit Singh in a plaid shirt is surrounded by BJP supporters and the party leader in Mumbai, MP Lodha, as he holds the award in his hand – a white rectangular card the size of two A4 sheets on which it was handwritten "Alert Citizen Award".
The passenger of the Uber car, Bappadittya Sarkar, had booked the taxi from Juhu to Kurla on Wednesday evening. The Jaipur-based artist had come to Mumbai to attend the Kala Ghoda Festival for Art.
During the taxi ride, Mr. Sarkar said he was discussing with his friend (on a cell phone) the unease of people with the slogan "Laal Salaam" protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Delhis Shaheen Bagh.
The driver who was listening stopped the taxi and told Mr. Sarkar that he wanted to withdraw money from the ATM. Then the driver returned with two police officers who allegedly asked Mr. Sarkar why he was a "dafli"(a percussion instrument) and also asked him for his address.
The driver reportedly asked the police to arrest his passenger when "he said he was a communist, talking about burning the country and building a Shaheen Bagh in Mumbai". The driver also claimed that he had recorded the phone call.
"When I asked the driver why he didn't talk to me about it, he said I'm glad I took you to the police, I could have taken you elsewhere," said Sarkar.
Mr. Sarkar said that he was then taken to the police station.
In the profile description of the app, the driver is described as follows: "He drives because he can study different characters and personalities with it."
The police asked him about his ideology and "the people he was reading". According to Mr. Sarkar, the police also asked him "absurd" questions like his father's salary and how he lived without a job. And they kept asking why he was the "dafli".
The police recorded the statements of the driver and the poet.
An activist, Kavita Krishnan, tweeted to condemn what she called the "scary episode" in which the poet was involved. "Last night, the poet @Bappadittoh in Mumbai had a scary episode broadcast by a @Uber driver and @ MumbaiPolice policeman: a look at scary India under the NPR NRC CAA, where everyone is encouraged to turn others on suspect and turn to them. " The police can harass anyone, "Ms. Krishnan tweeted.