Dhaba owners allegedly manhandles elderly tourist couple, badly thrash Kullu youth for defending
SHIMLA- In a shameful act, a youngster from district Kullu, who was on his way to Delhi in Volvo bus, was badly beaten by ‘Dhaba walas’ and local goons for defending an elderly tourist couple. Reportedly, the incident took place near Dadaur, Mandi.
Panki Sood, the victim, alleged that he saw an elderly couple having arguments with a restaurant owner about over-charges for meals. The couple was asking the owner to show the rate list. The owner didn’t show them any rate-list, and instead started manhandling the elderly lady. When Panki approached to defend them, about 15 people including both dhaba walas and local goons thrashed him with rods. He was beaten until his head started bleeding.
Later, a police complaint was filed and Panki was taken to the Sundernagar hospital. The issue was brought to the notice of G.S. Bali, the Transport Minister, HP, who assured immediate action against the culprit dhaba owners and erring bus staff. He also ordered the HRTC to investigate and file a FIR on the behalf of the corporation. The minister also informed that the location has been black-listed and HRTC staff is directed to not stop buses in front of these dhabas.
Panki is a part of Naya Savera, an NGO working in the field of drug & alcohol rehabilitation. He deserves appreciation and respect for standing up against ‘wrong’ even when he was outnumbered by goons. He defended elderly guests of Himachal very bravely. Because of him, the issue again came into light and might prove useful in preventing any such unfortunate incidents with other passengers in future.
The nexus between long route HRTC and private buses and Dhaba owners isn’t new. The buses take breaks at particular Dhabas. These Dhabas offer commission and free meals to the staff to stop the buses at only their Dhabas. The Dhaba walas charge whatever they want and in case of tourists, the charges are instantly hiked. Mostly, the passengers are in hurry and are compelled to pay. The dhaba owners exploit this very advantage with the help of bus staff.
It’s really disheartening to know that people in Himachal – a state known for its hospitality and decency- some local goons are looting elderly guests, manhandling when on protesting, and brutally beating the man who came to defend them. There isn’t any bravery in teaming up and beat one man with weapons- that’s cowardice.