Delhi has been referred to as the rape capital of India, a distinction it earned in December 2012 when a 23-year-old woman's death from injuries sustained during a brutal gang rape shocked the world. In January of this year, the city made headlines again when a Danish tourist got lost and asked a group of men for directions. Instead of leading the woman back to her hotel, they led her to one of Delhi's many secluded areas.
Suffice it to say women in Delhi have a problem getting home safe at night. As one might imagine, a self-imposed curfew makes holding down a job difficult—among emerging economies, Indian women's participation in the workforce is dismal. Yet for many working women, there was a seemingly safe transportation option in ride-share services like Uber, the New York Times reports. But now that a woman has accused an Uber driver of rape in New Delhi—a crime to which he has already confessed—officials in the region have banned use of the app, leaving these ladies right back where they started.
On Friday night, a woman in her late 20s working in the financial industry was reportedly headed home from work in New Delhi in an Uber car. She fell asleep and only woke up after her driver had diverted from the route home, allegedly parking the car near a garbage dump. That's where he proceeded to rape her, the woman later told police.
Shiv Kumar Yadav, who has confessed to raping the woman, did not undergo a background check before becoming an Uber driver—if he had, the company might have noticed that he had been accused of raping a taxi passenger three years earlier. Not only that, the home address Yadav provided the company was fake and he didn't even have a GPS in his car as required by law.
Now the Transport Department of the Delhi region has banned Uber outright. Founder Travis Kalanick might have plans to take over the world, but growing concerns about the general lack of safety inherent in skirting taxi regulations could make things difficult. Uber's detractors have a long list of reasons not to like the company, and the India rape case may just have jumped to the top of that list. VICE contacted Uber's PR department for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.