It was reported on 4 June that a male passenger stripped and beat conductor Deepmala Sonawane when she stopped him getting on her bus through the wrong doors. Shockingly, no passenger attempted to stop the beating. A second woman conductor, Sonali Patil, was also reportedly beaten when she attempted to stop the incident. Eventually, a group of students intervened, apprehending the assailant.
The ITF-affiliated Maharashtra State Transport Kamgar Sanghatana union reacted swiftly, and hundreds of women gathered at the office of the employers, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation.
The ITF has also called on the company to work with the union to ensure the safety of women workers. The ITF recognised the positive steps taken so far to address violence against women, but urged the management to step up its efforts in the face of increasing incidents of violence against women transport workers in India.
ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton said: “The ITF family stands in solidarity with Deepmala and Sonali. Violence is unacceptable, and we must take discussion about this crime into every home and workplace. We will continue to empower our union activists to challenge violence, and we urge employers to work alongside unions until every workplace is violence-free.”