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Leh Taxi Mafia attacks tourists: Damage 15 cars, including CR-V, Fortuner, XUV500, Thar (Video Update)

leh taxi mafia damage cars

A tourist convoy of 15 cars was attacked by the Leh Taxi Mafia leaving 3 injured.

Leh, Ladakh, the place which sees a host of tourists during May to October period, is renowned for its scenic beauty. Local taxi operators in the region depend on tourists for their daily earnings. This is where the problem begins.

leh taxi mafia

Damaged Mahindra XUV500 with all windows broken.

Tourists come in their own vehicle, or rent a vehicle from Chandigarh, Ambala, Jammu, Pathankot, etc (where the railway stations are). After hiring vehicles, these tourists then drive up to Leh and visit surrounding places in the same vehicles. This eats into the business of local taxi guys in Leh. And there were incidents of violence and attacks on some occasions.

To stop this, few years ago, a rule was passed that tourists can come up to Leh in any taxi they want, but if they want to visit places in and around Leh, they will have to hire taxis from Leh Taxi Union. If tourists come in their own private cars, then they are free to visit places in their own car. The ban was only on taxis with yellow number plates, registered outside of Leh.

But, what if tourists are coming in self-driven rented cars? This is what has happened in the latest attack.

leh taxi mafia

Seeing the way the miscreants attacked, they were in no mood to spare anyone.

The convoy of 15 cars which was attacked, consisted of 2 self driven rented cars with yellow number plates. Not only the attack was shocking, but it was surprising that they vented their anger towards privately owned cars as well.

During the attack, which left a brand new Toyota Fortuner with broken windshield and two Thars, One Honda CR-V and Mahindra XUV500 were also severely damaged with iron rods. The mob pulled out a passenger from the Thar after breaking the door and hit him on the upper arm. The door lock knob was broken making it unable for the victims to get back into the car.

While Leh Taxi mafia damaged cars with iron rods, smashed windshields and dented cars beyond repair, local police and ITBP stood silent spectators and failed to take any action. They neither came to the assistance of tourists and nor did they file any FIR against the offenders.

leh taxi mafia

Damaged Mahindra Thar

We hope the government officials in the region take note of this matter. People have the right to opt for whatever mode of transport suits them and their pocket. It does not give taxi operators in the area any right to take law in their own hands and cause so much damage and destruction resulting in mental and physical harassment to travellers and tourists.

UPDATE – Video

leh taxi mafia

Damaged Honda CR-V

leh taxi mafia

The damaged Toyota Fortuner

leh taxi mafia

The damaged Toyota Fortuner

Via Team-BHP

About the author

Pearl Daniels

Pearl Daniels

Former freelance writer, Pearl Daniels is in the auto industry since 2011, having established herself as a widely read staff writer since 2013. Her keen eye for industry news, daily need to break down latest events, and quest to not miss a single launch detail, gives you the most refreshing morning news on weekdays.

Email - pearl@rushlane.com

36 Comments

  • Bastards! I remember they were quite aggressive back in 2007 when I visited. Of course they are running a cartel, competition is out of the question, prices fixed and sky high.
    Ah if only it had been me inside the car, they would be looking for their teeth as far as the Nubra valley now.

    • There were cases of rash driving in the peaceful mountains of ladakh disturbing the local ecology. There are animals, man, and spirits in the high mountains and Ladakhis respect them all.

      • LadagSpa and ROyal Zanskar – If you keep beating the bull shit trumpet of ecology and fragility – Are your Taxi Mafia – Riding Toyota Prius as Taxi or BMW i8 ? Are your taxi Mafia – driving Electrical cars with Hybrid engines ? Then… how can they driving be more ecological than me driving around ?

        Please get your shit together. Honestly, If you wanna goto Pakistan and behave like Kashmir…. then its a different story ! Bust as long as you are in India. Please behave like one. What if your family was travelling to Delhi and we broke the cars windscreens and just for fun dozed off the whole thing…. as a joke… Is it funny now ?

      • Oh I am so sorry to write this, if you think Ladakh will take care of itself then why such protest, and there have been incident that a women was tried to pull out of that Thar?? isnt that morally wrong. do you have any proof than these people who were in these cars were the ones who were driving the cars rashly, or are these people who washed there cars in Pangong lake. People in other region of India Look at Ladakh as good tourist place and respect the scenary and hence we travel there. Also more than outsiders , it is the drivers from Ladakh region drive the cars in reckless manner.
        anyways as you wrightly said Ladakh will take care if itself, Please stay in that dream and soon you will see the tourism in Leh affected by this stupid act.
        or you all just want to entertain forgieners. deeply disppointed with this act and your views about this.

      • Yes with its swathes of natural reserves.
        or with it’s manufacturing industry.
        or with its winter wheat facilities in Leh limited to a few acres.
        And all this, only if the Chinese spare you guys.

    • Ladakh suffered a lot. And you DONT talk about democracy here. Thanks to Chinese and Pakistanis at least you can dream of driving through the roads that bro has built in fear of their attacks!

      • Most welcome to join Pakistan with its booming economy and China with its ample freedom of speech. China will be controlling Buddhist policies (the Karmapa is already under them- The Dalai Lama might be the last, because of China’s policies not going down well with him) and ramzan is banned there more or less.
        So you decide. If you think BRO hadn’t build roads there, you’d be better off then I suggest you read more about the geo-political situation of the region.

  • DONT bark without knowing the other side of the story. Ladakh is known for its peaceful people and calm nature. However, Being nice and peaceful people doesn’t mean you can fool or exploit the place. DONT take things given and for guaranteed in the mountains. People of Ladakh are sensible and concern enough to resort to non violence and pace as long as you DONT try to fool them. The picture above is painted from only side, bring the other story and then we can understand the issue. Also please stop defaming ladakh and it’s people.

    • You sound like a moron. If this continues, sooner or later, you all will suffer both at the hands of Government and as well as the tourists.
      If you think what the tourists are doing illegitimate, then lodge a FIR against the erring vehicle owner/driver but DO NOT TAKE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS.

      STOP IT NOW OR ELSE YOU SHALL REGRET IT ALL YOUR LIFE.

    • @ladagspa:disqus. Those sure aren’t peaceful people in the video. The only people who were calm are the poor tourists who you guys terrorized. If you truly want to keep leh a peaceful place, you better make sure those taxi- unions (mafia) are put behind bars for the crime they’ve committed.

  • Before blaming please know why such incidents occur. One should very well know that the mountains of ladakh has very sensitive ecology. Any kind of disturbances of the local ecology by rash and fast driving pose threat to the ecology. Tourists must respect nature over machines. Just because you have better machines doesn’t mean that you can exploit nature.

    Now tourists, especially domestic, often tend to get excited and drive crazy on the roads. Also there have cases of washing of cars in the lakes and rivers in the area. Ladakh has a long tradition of keeping water bodies clean and unexploited to the extend even fishing is not allowed. Any form of such defilements is certainly breach of ladkhi traditions and culture.

    The roads that your wheels proudly run are built not because someone throught it will boon ladakh’s tourism or connect remote villages. These were built to challenge the developments across the border. China and Pakistan.

    Hence Ladakh has every right to protect its interest and sovereignty. Though the violent reaction is to be condemned it is the fruition of your own actions of rash/fast/mindless driving across the mountains.

    • Kise chutiya bana rahe ho? Kal Delhi me koi rash driving kare to kya mein uskee gaadi tod soon???

      Admit that mafia rules over there including many other places like Kashmir, garhwal etc. And anyways violence is not the way.

      An zada dil pe mat le. Apni utha, fadfada aur udhar se nikal le.

      • Why not fence it? Why not prevent vehicles from coming so close to the lake?
        Common sense? Make a fence that allows only people to come through to the shores of the lake.

    • What a lame reply . Are all your vehicles pollution free ? Do they all drive sedately ? Bet you were one member of the mafia who has indulging in promoting violence against innocent people

    • Buddy, you can’t be serious and if you are then you are seriously ill-informed. First of denigrate your rantings- Ladakh’s sovereignty is not different from India’s. Now since that has been established that you are a part of India, we’ll talk about your Lakes. We have lakes in my state but we also have something called the government. If your government and district authorities are so darn lazy that they can’t protect/fence/guard your lakes, then take it up with them. Stage a dharna.

      I’m from the hills as well. This kind of behaviour doesn’t auger well. Some Ladakhi in another part of the country would be meted out a similar punishment, because people will be enraged with your actions.

      If there is any issue, then take it up with the law/police/government.etc. If the HP govt. can regulate the number of vehicles through the Rohtang pass, then what’s preventing your administration from doing something similar.

      I’ll be very frank….Ladakh saw a tourism boom, because people have money to spend. The same people have other destinations to explore as well. You’re just hell bent on chopping your foot off, not with an axe, but with a chain-saw.

      • Well said Pranav. Increase Taxes and tolls on outside vehicles if you’re so worried about the ‘ecology’ of Leh-laddakh. that will deter a few tourists driving down from Delhi and other places. But this kind of behavior is not acceptable. According to a few friends who were in the hotel near-by said even the women were abused verbally, hair pulled. this is completely mafia kind of behavior.

        I urge people to stop going to leh. There are far more prettier places (and safer) to go to. sikkim, himachal, smila and the likes. Far better. Far prettier places to visit than Leh. Don’t endanger your life going to leh.

  • its leh taxi union and not leh taxi mafia… that way are you writer cum judge… as a writer you should write the facts and not try to give it colours…

  • laddakh walo k muh me paiso ka khoon lag gya hai…band kar do jana.. bhukhe marenge …sara paisa indian govt se jata aur bolte hum apne aap kar lenge..4 foreigners jate to 50 indian jate hain…tum bhuko mar jaoge sab

  • ladagspa, I wanted to self drive to Leh and beyond till Marismek La. However this episode has really terrorized me. I don’t want to visit that region anymore. I am sure there are many like me who think this way too. There might be a chance as someone mentioned before that this white Fortuner guy was involved in a hit and run incident. However, manhandling was not the right option out. You people should have opted involving civic authorities in this matter. Peace loving people don’t do all this. Anyways, all the best to your regions economy in this aftermath.

  • Dear Ladagspa, It seems that you are still in ur Teens or hardly Twenties because the level of Maturity being displayed by ur speech is on a very Lower side…Grow Up Kid !!!
    I have been driving since 1993 & Let me update you that Rash driving only harms the machine not your so called “ECOLOGY”…The winds that blow there have a much higher speed than these rash driven cars…A thunderstorm or Lightning creates much higher sounds than these stupid car Horns or there exhausts…So Please Stop this Bullshit Dude !!!
    LADAKH BHARAT MEIN AATA HAI…NA KI BHARAT LADAKH MEIN !!! Ladakh ki Thekedaari abhi kisi ne aapko nahi di hai yeh hum sab ki ek Zimedaari hai to respect our Mother Nature.

    • Dear Guests of Ladakh
      The recent voilent acts by a handful of irresponsible people of Ladakh have indeed shamed Ladakh. The violent acts cannot be justified even though as reported the fortuner driver hurled racial abuses and almost ran over the people stopping them.
      However I wish to bring to the notice of all travellers that this practice of not allowing outside commercial vehicles in Ladakh interiors is not new. Taxis from jammu, srinagar or manali can only drop tourist in leh and cannot do any local sight seeing. Likewise leh taxis having valid permits can only pick travellers at designated spots from srinagar/jammu etc and can do no extra sightseeing there. Infact leh taxi’s have been stoned to the garage for trying to pick guest from srinagar airport.
      The above arrangement though having no legal basis has been there for decades. The unions therefore feel cheated by the freedom of movement claimed/enjoyed by rental Co’s.
      However to the best of my knowledge no union/organisation has asked for stopping tourist travelling in self owned vehicles.

      Travellers to Leh are most welcome always.

      Ladakhspa dwitya.

  • Dear Guests of Ladakh
    The recent voilent acts by a handful of irresponsible people of Ladakh have indeed shamed Ladakh. The violent acts cannot be justified even though as reported the fortuner driver hurled racial abuses and almost ran over the people stopping them.
    However I wish to bring to the notice of all travellers that this practice of not allowing outside commercial vehicles in Ladakh interiors is not new. Taxis from jammu, srinagar or manali can only drop tourist in leh and cannot do any local sight seeing. Likewise leh taxis having valid permits can only pick travellers at designated spots from srinagar/jammu etc and can do no extra sightseeing there. Infact leh taxi’s have been stoned to the garage for trying to pick guest from srinagar airport. 
    The above arrangement though having no legal basis has been there for decades. The unions therefore feel cheated by the freedom of movement claimed/enjoyed by rental Co’s. 
    However to the best of my knowledge no union/organisation has asked for stopping tourist travelling in self owned vehicles.

    Travellers to Leh are most welcome always.

    Ladakhspa dwitya.

  • An appeal to all those watching this video – please share it on FB,
    W@sp,and other social media and make your friends aware of LADAKHI (Sic)
    HOSPITALITY, act of hooliganism, lawless behavior and a FINAL call to
    boycott LEH and LADAKH tourism. Let the greed of local taxi mafia and
    their supporters take care of their people. Lets show the world how
    tax payers are taken for a ride in this free country by SIC Ladakhi’s.

  • I had my plans of visiting Leh-Ladakh next week, but now looking at this, to hell with it. I would prefer going to some other place where my family is safe. You people think that behaving like this way you are helping your cause. You yourself are your biggest enemies. Tourists will stop coming to Leh. People like you are real shame to the whole community.

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