The Manipal Auto Boycott – Is it reasonable?

I’ve received messages on the ManipalBlog Facebook page, mails on the official email id, [email protected], and on my private mail as well, from various people, known as well as unknown, requesting me to support the proposed unofficial boycott of auto-rickshaws in Manipal. While it is perfectly reasonable demand to make the autowallahs more accountable for their actions and work, I find it silly to believe that a boycott of the autos is a solution to the events that have taken place over the past few days in Manipal.

I, and we at ManipalBlog in general, have publicly condemned the assault on one of our own colleagues inside our campus. We believe that the offenders when apprehended should face the strictest and harshest penalties that will deter anyone else from committing such a heinous crime again.

But I do not agree with the boycott of the auto-rickshaws as the correct way to move forward, let alone the call for violence as advocated on some student groups on Facebook and also by some so-called student leaders on their Facebook profiles.

Is it reasonable to watch Munnabhai MBBS again, considering that Sanjay Dutt is now in jail for anti-national crimes?
…or never watch another Salman Khan film?
…or do you boycott everything Narendra Modi does?

“Reasonable” here ranges from whether a boycott is likely to have my intended effect of stopping the antisocial behavior, whether all the other people that work with my target deserve to get their professional lives caught up in their coworker’s private failings, and how one goes about attaching a financial value to someone being annoying.

While my colleagues at ManipalBlog do not necessarily share my sentiments on this topic, I feel that boycotting the auto service in Manipal will not be the solution to the problem. Catching the criminals and taking the harshest measures against them should act as the right deterrent.


  1. Finally some sense! I completely agree..If anything, they should be taken into confidence since their cooperation maybe be invaluable in actually preventing a crime or 2 in the future..Alienating an entire community for the misdeeds of a few will be counter productive.

  2. The rickshaw wallas have a union nd they can easily find out the culprit..
    since they r supporting the culprit, it is ‘Reasonable’ to boycott them till they hand over the culprit..

    • Hi Vishal,

      I beg to defer from you on this.

      Do we even know that the Rickshaw was from Manipal?
      Could have been from any of the neighbouring towns as well!

      Do we even know whether it was driven by a Rickshaw driver?

      It is wrong to blame the union for something they do not have any inkling about.

      It is better to wait for the law to catch up with the criminals before judging the Rickshaw Union.

      • Sir, even though we assume tat the rick waz not driven by a rickshaw driver, who lent him the rick??
        And regarding the rickshaw from bein from neugbouring areas, I guess the unions have enough contacts with those from nieghbouring areas.. the highlight is tat they can easily find out the culprit if they want to

        • Hi Vishal,

          Again, do you think the Rickshaw wallahs will protect someone who has don this crime? Do you think they do not have enough sense not to hit the golden goose (students) that is laying eggs for them?

          I may be wrong and the perpetrators of the crime may belong to the union, but that doesn’t mean they are being shielded by the union. If that is so, then it would be reasonable for the proposed boycott… but a knee-jerk reaction is what should be avoided.

          The police and the University are competent enough to get to the root of the matter. We should let the law catch up with the criminals before we, as the public, take any action.

          Again this is my opinion and it need not be what others believe in. But I believe that knee-jerk reactions are not going to solve the auto-menace that ruins Manipal.

          • you talk about the ” auto-menace that ruins Manipal”… please tell us how many times before have we not allowed the authorities, the law to solve the problem?.. dagger shown at kc by auto driver to student… student goes till court but admin ask him to back out, they said and i quote ” they(auto union) have political backing.. you will not be able to achieve anything… just take back your complaint.. we ll make sure it never happens again”.. and the student did what he was told to. Autowallahs take drunk people in their auto near manipal lake, loot them, ask for their atm pin under threat of life, beat them up, leave them there… if one of the autowallahs rate are unreasonable and you select another auto.. he either refuses to take you or asks for the same rate… such is their unity.. and now this, molesting a student.. I am not saying all of them are like minded, but they sure are all united, be whatever the situation they will never turn each other in, until sufficient pressure is applied on them.. hence the boycott is necessary… it wont last for more than a week.. you think if you stop riding the auto.. they wont suffer.. when a man’s income is hurt.. cash flow stops then only you get his attention..

    • Hey vishal, agreed that all this has happened…… and now in the midst of anger most of us feel that we should boycott them but then think about it in this way……This issue no matter how hard it has hit us will eventually die down (not forgotten though) and then slowly and slowly people are gonna get on with their lives and this whole idea of walking all over manipal is gonna come back and bite us in the ass……think of it practically…..are you seriously gonna walk EVERYWHERE the whole day for the rest of you time in manipal???…..What will you do if you get up late for your class?? are you still gonna risk walking it and then miss your attendance (which is a reason for backs for a lot of people here BTW)…..What will you do in case of emegency? you gonna walk ??……Just think!.
      Say if we boycott these autowalas right now, eventually people are going to be like ”F**k this shit am gonna take an auto” and thats when those auto walas are gonna strike back at us by being even more rude and expensive!
      And then this attitude of theirs will stay on and on and everybody suffers!
      No matter how hard i feel like slapping them right across their face when they speak shit, i have to regretfully accept that they are an important part of the commuting system here and you cannot make the whole union suffer cause not every auto person is bad…..its always that one fish that dirties the whole pond.

  3. If they took by taxi or private car than?? what you will boycott?? all rickshaw walla not involved, coz of one person u cant say No to Auto…

  4. Boycotting auto-rickshaws doesn’t make much sense unless you actually have alternate travel arrangements.
    Moreover, it seems like everyone is deviating from the main issue here. The main issue is lack of safety, and a suitable solution to it would involve vigilant patrolling, omniscient closed circuit cameras with careful monitoring, supervised exits and access points, and to some extent more alertness among students especially in vulnerable situations/places.
    If all the people who’re wasting their energy on passive aggression or violence, actually channeled it into a more planned and sensible approach, much can change.

    P.s. These are simply my thoughts. Don’t boycott me if you don’t agree.

  5. we are not asking people to boycott Manipal Autos forever. Its till the time the culprits are caught and put behind bars. we have seen numerous reports that Autowallas are refusing to cooperate in investigations. its difficult to believe that they don’t have slightest of clue about the culprits.
    and this is not just one of incidence. Incidents have happened earlier as well involving autowallas and students. This should serve as a warning that students are not going to take it silently!

  6. It is not a boycott. It is just a measure that I take to secure my life. I have no idea of knowing whether the auto I get into is driven by a rapist or murderer or thief. So If I can avoid them, I will. Frankly, I wouldn’t let my wife get into any of these modes of transport after 9-10pm, if I can avoid it.
    There may be good guys in the auto union. But where are they?. In these 3-4 days, have you seen a single statement from the union detailing the measures they have taken to assure of us of our security? Will they go around with some ID badges? Will they have some helpline for us to call in case of harassment. Whether they like it or not, an auto has been involved in this heinous crime and that makes them culpable.
    Two-three months down the line, everything will be forgotten. University will put some additional guards, maybe some cameras, make hostels compulsory, cutdown library time. There will be few more police jeeps roaming around for some time and that’s it. This incident has made it clear that you cannot depend on police or campus security. I have to depend on myself only to secure myself, and if it involves boycotting autos, so be it.The good guys in the auto union can go take a royal hike for all I care.

  7. Now the cats are out of the bag ! Atleast two of the vermin are autodrivers and they are not from some far off town. They are from neighbouring Parkala. And are we seriously supposed to believe that none of the autodrivers or the auto union fellows did not who the assualters are ? They knew all this while and have not cooperated.

    These low life extort us regularly, do not pay a single paisa as tax, enjoy every amenity the govt. provides (which is financed by income tax from you and me) and then commit such heinous crimes and have the least respect for law. Not just robbery but scar a person’s life forever. What justice can you offer for her?. Additionally they enjoy political protection. Most of the local political leaders grow on their support and start as their union leaders. That is why they drive so brazenly and are not afraid of any accident cases.

    What can we as law abiding tax paying citizens do in the face of this? Probably what Mahatma Gandhi taught us. Boycott them as far as is feasible. We will be put to inconvenience, costs will go up, but that, I suppose is the price we have to pay for our safety for living in this country.

    • Please get your facts right. The auto drivers were nabbed using help given by some auto-rickshaw drivers themselves.

  8. Mithun Pragya

    So, if an auto guy kills a student next, will you still support the rest of them because you cant be bothered to find a solution to travelling across a small town like manipal? What is the extent to which you will cower in fear of a political union? Do you have any sense of morality or justice?

    Autos are not essential for manipal students to travel. Try using bicycles. It will be tough to ride up the slopes, but atleast you will ensure that Manipal stays free from relying a community which has no sense of goodwill towards students. Of course, in the odd emergency it will be necessary to use an auto, but we need to stop relying on them on a daily basis.

    The relationship with auto drivers need to be at an equal level, not one where they can dominate us or show agresssion towards us in any way.

    • So boycotting all the autodrivers is equal to getting justice? Get a grip.
      That’s not even close to the solution. Today it’s autodrivers, tomorrow it’ll be a’ll boycott all shops in manipal then?
      The solution is to provide adequate security so that these sort of incidents don’t happen. In a campus as small as manipal, with the resources that are available to the University, these are 100% preventable. I agree that autodrivers are unreasonable and rude in general but that’s a different issue entirely and shouldnt be mixed up with this incident.
      Step down from targetting an entire community who like everyone else are just trying to feed their families.

      • As much as they need to feed their families, I need to look after my life. The University can provide 100% security within the campus. Outside, I have no such assurance.
        After this incident, I dont feel safe anymore, not just with an autodriver but generally. So I will avoid the auto at late hours or when alone because I dont feel safe. Now, if most people feel like that ( I dont think it is so ), nobody can help it. It is not because there is a offical proclamation of boycott from the students. It is because they voluntarily decide to do so because they dont feel safe.
        In any case, looking at the streets, it doesnt look like any auto boycott is going on. We are simply ranting on the web. Besides,all will be forgotten soon and in 2-3 years, newer students will come who will not have any knowledge of this crime or even if they do, they will not have the same sensitivity to it.

        • I agree. Ofcourse you should avoid travelling alone in an auto at late hours. I’ve been in Manipal for 6 years and it has never been safe for a girl to travel alone after 10ish outside the campus. I disagree with the claims that Manipal has been a ‘safe’ place till this incident.
          The discussion however wasn’t about that.

      • The autos are immune from the law since they are part of a political union.
        If auto drivers are boycotted, then no one will mess with students again, in fear of being boycotted.
        This will act as both a solution and a prevention to future problems for students from any person.

        It’s not equal to getting justice, but its the only feasible path possible to get any solution to the problems.

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