She is used to getting appreciation for being the only female bus driver in Bengaluru city, but on June 26th Prema Ramappa Nadabatti was at the receiving end of some verbal and physical abuse, and that too by the driver and conductor of another BMTC ( Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) bus that she was traveling in. The incident took place around 11.45am.
Prema works in Shantinagar’s 3rd BMTC bus depot. According to reports, she was in civilian clothes and the only wrong she did was to board the bus at the Hosmat signal since the automatic doors were kept open. Apparently, that’s what started an argument between her and the driver and conductor because that was not a designated stop for that particular bus route. The argument though escalated into a fist fight. She was allegedly even slapped by one of the assaulters. All this happened in full view of the other commuters on the bus. Gathering her wits, Nadabatti then alighted from the bus at city market stop and headed to Bowring hospital for treatment. Using the treatment record as evidence, she then approached to a police station and registered a complaint of assaulting and outraging the modesty of a woman.
There is no news about whether the accused have been questioned yet. Meanwhile, an officer said that Prema had approached the police to withdraw the complaint too. “Since both the conductor and the driver are from the same corporation where she works, there is possible pressure on her to withdraw the case. She returned to us wanting to withdraw the case. But since the complaint had already been registered, she has been asked to take up the matter with the jurisdictional court,” he said to Bangalore Mirror.
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A resident from Bhairnaddi village of Karnataka’s Belgaum district, Prema has been working as a woman BMTC bus driver in the city since 2009. The death of her husband in 2005 brought responsibilities in her life. While her mother stood by her, took care of her 12-year-old son and encouraged Prema to take up her passion and drive. Before she held the wheel, she worked as a nurse for a short period. Reportedly, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation has nearly 3,000 female employees, most of them work as conductors and one driver.
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