July 13th, 2017
A mob gheraoed the premises of Mahagun Moderne Society, Noida Sector 78, on 12 July to protest against the alleged beating up of a maid by one of the residents.
The attackers were domestic helps and neighbours of the maid who claimed that she was confined in her employer’s house earlier.
As reported by Hindustan Times, Superintendent of Police (city) Arun Kumar Singh said, “Most of the protesters are domestic helps who are angry that a maid has been allegedly beaten up. We are trying to contain the protest”.
He also added, “A resident, however, said that a maid was caught stealing from one of the apartments and was handed over to police. This is what enraged them”.
Two versions of the event
The protesters breached the security of the housing society on Wednesday at 7 am, supporting the maid’s claims. Video footages show the mob and the security guards pelting stones at each other and scores of angry villagers forcing themselves past the security with sticks in their hands.
— Sohil Sehran (@SohilSehran) July 12, 2017
The Dadri-Surajpur-Chhalera (DSC) road at Barola was blocked by the protesters which led to halting of traffic near Noida Phase 2 Industrial Area. A police posse was been deployed outside the apartment after the incident and trying to bring the situation under control.
A Facebook post identified the help as 26-year-old Zohra and claims that she went missing following a fight with her employer and was locked up in a room the whole day. She was found in the basement of the very building she went missing from, reported Catch News.
As per The Indian Express, the 26-year-old had left her house in the morning to work like every other day.
“Zohra did not come home for lunch, unlike other days, by 4 pm, we got worried and went to the apartment complex to look for her. There the security guard told us that she had entered in the morning at 7 am, but the security registered didn’t know show her leaving,” said her husband, Abdul Sattar.
As per the police, Zohra and her husband are both from Cooch Behar in Bengal and were living in Noida for over a decade. The residents alleged that they were “illegal Bangladeshi migrants”, however, the police dismissed the claims, while confirming that both of them had valid identity documents, including Aadhaar cards.
Before the incident, a message circulated in the society’s WhatsApp group by her employers claimed that Zohra had “stolen money” and when caught, she asked them to “adjust in her salary’.
Abdul Sattar, though, has denied these allegations. He told The Indian Express, “My wife was beaten up and confined after they accused her of stealing. She didn’t return home all night and she had been badly beaten up. She is in the hospital being treated.”
According to Gautam Buddh Nagar SSP Love Kumar, investigations are ongoing and an FIR is being lodged. “There are two versions of events and the matter is being investigated. But claims that she is an illegal Bangladeshi migrant are completely false. She has all necessary documents.”
Officers added that they are scouring through the CCTV footage to ascertain the exact sequence of events.
Residents unanimously decide to disallow ‘Bangladeshi’ domestic help in the society
In the backdrop of the violence was the decision of Mahagun Moderne Housing Society to not allow ‘Bangladeshi’ domestic helps.
The Hindustan Times reported that as the society has no residents’ welfare association (RWA), the decision of debarring the maids was taken by the ‘active residents’. Facility management was informed about the decision which in turn issued a notice.
The society, which the residents said has 2,750 flats in its 20 buildings (90% of which are occupied), has many Bangladeshi domestic helps.
After yesterday’s attack, the residents are scared and cannot trust Bangladeshi domestic helps anymore. They reportedly said that they will clear all dues and take help of an agency that provides domestic helps.
A resident was quoted saying, “As a standard practice, we used to give forms to the maids and tell them to get them verified from the police. After verification, entry passes were issued. There is record of the entry and exit of society visitors and the helps. None of us knew such a situation would arise. Those who pelted stones work only in this society and it shows none of us are safe. It can happen to us also”.
Meanwhile, Zohra’s husband, said that the people in his community were perturbed after she went missing and had gone to the employer’s house only to enquire.
“When we asked the security guards of the society, they used batons on us. Everyone was injured and we resorted to stone-pelting in self defence. We were threatened by them that they would kill us. We know the chaos would make the women jobless, but oppression cannot be tolerated by anyone in the society,” he said.
The Logical Indian community hopes that the Noida police can effectively find out the truth through its investigation. Till now, the incident has two versions to it and it remains unclear on what really happened to the maid. However, the residents disbarring ‘Bangladeshi’ domestic helps from the society is communal discrimination and should not have happened. We urge the concerned authorities to probe into the matter and bring to justice those responsible for the attack.