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Uber bans Hindu woman ‘Swastika’ Chandra, calls her name ‘offensive’, later apologises

Uber, the American ride-hailing behemoth, garnered attention recently for its ban on a 35-year-old woman named Swastika Chandra from Sydney, Australia, citing her first name as “potentially offensive” due to its unfortunate associations with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.

However, Chandra was quick to clarify that her name holds significance rooted in Sanskrit, where it symbolizes ‘good luck’, a meaning widely recognized in her native Fiji, where she spent her formative years. Unraveling the saga, news.com.au reported that Chandra stumbled upon the ban when attempting to place an order via Uber Eats, only to be met with a disconcerting message urging her to alter her name on the app.

In an interview with A Current Affair, an Australian TV program, Chandra voiced her steadfast refusal to succumb to the pressures of altering her name, asserting her pride in its cultural heritage and highlighting its seamless integration into all her official Australian documents without incident.

“They don’t know that the Hindus used it for thousands of years before Hitler used it in the wrong way,” she asserted, encapsulating the depth of historical and cultural significance embedded within her name.

The ban persisted for a staggering five months until the intervention of prominent entities such as the Hindu Council and the New South Wales attorney-general, which catalyzed the reinstatement of Chandra’s Uber account, as reported by ACA. Notably, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies also rallied behind Chandra, signaling a broader coalition of support transcending cultural and religious boundaries.

In a bid to ameliorate the fallout from the controversy, Uber issued an apology to Chandra, acknowledging the protracted duration of their review process. The company elucidated its global policy aimed at curbing access for users whose names contain potentially offensive connotations, underscoring its commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all patrons.

“Uber is committed to facilitating a safe and welcoming environment for all users. For that reason, Uber has a global policy of restricting access to users whose names entered into the Uber app contain potentially offensive words,” the statement affirmed.

Recognizing the nuanced complexities inherent in cultural naming conventions, Uber reiterated its commitment to adjudicating such incidents on a case-by-case basis, ensuring equitable treatment for all users. In the case of Ms. Chandra, the company conceded an oversight in judgment and promptly reinstated her access to the app, accompanied by a sincere apology for any inconvenience caused.

“We have apologised to Ms Chandra for the inconvenience this caused her, and we appreciate her patience as we reviewed the matter, which took longer than we hoped it would,” Uber affirmed, concluding its response with a commitment to upholding principles of inclusivity and sensitivity in its operational ethos.

In a frightening incident, a 20-year-old student fell prey to a case of molestation by an Uber driver in the city of Guwahati.

In a distressing incident, a 20-year-old student faced molestation by an Uber driver in Guwahati.

The unsettling event transpired on January 1st at 6 pm when the student booked an Uber bike to travel from West Jyoti Nagar to Lachit Nagar.

The alleged Uber assailant is identified as Bijoy Haloi, with vehicle registration number AS01FE9202.

The victim, exclusively sharing her account of the incident, recounted that it took place near Krishna Nagar behind the Assam Engineering Institute. The accused rider purportedly touched her private parts. Upon confronting him, the rider offered excuses, claiming he was adjusting his pants and not attempting to touch her.

Despite the victim’s insistence to stop the vehicle, the rider refused to comply.

“I asked him to stop the scooty, but he wasn’t doing that, so I had to take off my helmet and hit him. Then I had to scream and shout for help so that people gathered around me. Doing that helped me as people gathered to help me, following which he stopped the vehicle. I also had to prevent him from eloping away,” stated the 20-year-old.

Locals intervened, assisting the victim in the distressing situation, and subsequently alerted the police. She filed a complaint, leading to the accused being taken into custody for 24 hours. Additionally, the victim lodged a complaint on Uber’s official site.

Such incidents are reportedly increasing in Guwahati, with regular users of ride-sharing services facing challenges such as harassment, demands for extra payment, misbehavior, and molestation.