A Bengaluru cab driver has filed a complaint against Kannada actress Sanjjanna Galrani for allegedly abusing him when he did not switch on the air-conditioner in the taxi. The cabbie says putting on the AC is against the Karnataka's Covid-19 guidelines, but Galrani went on social media stating that she was harassed by the cab driver and he did not mention anything about Covid-19 guidelines. The video of the incident, meanwhile, has gone viral.
In his complaint, the cabbie said Sanjjanaa had boarded his taxi near Dommalur here on Tuesday morning. "She sat in the vehicle and asked me to switch on the air-conditioner," he said. "I refused to switch on the air-conditioner as per the government's Covid-19 guidelines. However, she insisted that I should switch on the air-conditioner and I put it at level 1."
Recounting the incident in his complaint, the cabbie added: "The actress increased it to level 4 and abused me. She also threatened to file a kidnapping case against me and to carry on a campaign against me on social media platforms. I have taken up the matter with the Karnataka Drivers Federation."
Reacting to the incident, Sanjjanaa said she was saddened by it. "After all, can I challenge a cab driver? I will never go so low. So many women are insulted and offboarded by cab drivers inspite of paying the full fare. I refuse to be that woman. It's my right as a customer to ask for good service. The charges made by the cab driver are simply no more than stories," she said.
Presenting her version of the sequence of events, Sanjjanaa on Wednesday said on social media: "Initially, the driver said he wouldn't turn on the AC at all and he was rude and harsh. Then he was yelling at us. He never used the words 'Covid rules', nor were any Covid rules were to us in writing. I'm paying for an AC car and it is a customer's right to ask for the air-conditioning to be switched on."
Sanjjanaa continued: "Finally, he put the AC on level 1 with four people in the car and we adjusted to that too. If any driver threatens to offboard any lady in the middle of the road with a king-size 35-kilo suitcase, especially when she is medically not allowed to carry heavy weights, she has got to be strong."
"I did not utter a single abuse," Sanjjanna said. "I just asked him whether he would behave in the same way with his mother or sister in such a situation. The location of the shoot was 50 metres away. This man was taking us to to the wrong address and dumping us on the road, instead of dropping us at the right place."
She accused the cabbie of saying he would charge twice as much as the meter reading. "I asked him if he would then demand Rs 10,000," she said. "I spoke strongly only because he was very arrogant and forcing us to offboard at the wrong address. I called the cops at 10:30 a.m. on the phone and informed them that the driver was not stopping the car and is taking us round and round, deliberately increasing the meter reading, and not cooperating to take me to the right address."
Only after her call to the police, the actress said, the driver stopped the car, verified the address and within five minutes, dropped her off at the right place. "I respect the pain of the labour class people," she said in conclusion. "But enough is enough. I cannot take any fake stories against me anymore."
The Rajarajeshwarinagar police are looking into the matter.