The jury may still be out on what actually led to the riot-like scenes that residents at Noida’s Mahagun Moderne society woke up to on Wednesday morning when an angry mob comprising hundreds gheraoed the luxury high-rise society, pelted stones and ransacked the guard room of the gated complex. The agitators believed that an acquaintance working as a domestic help at one of the flats in the society was beaten and abused by her employer and was being held captive inside against her will.
As the police takes its own time to settle the matter, the sentiment among residents at Mahagun and neighbouring societies is that of anger and concern. As a first step, Mahagun Moderne has gone ahead and imposed a complete ban on Bangaldeshi workers from their society. The decision was arrived at during a meeting of the 'active residents' of the society, which is yet to form an RWA. The facility management has been accordingly informed.
Meanwhile, the attack has left neighbouring societies worried if a similar situation were to arise before them in future. More societies, as a result, are likely to follow suit in banning Bangladeshi workers as household help. Messages doing the rounds on social media and community WhatsApp groups suggest that residents do not want to hire these workers any longer. The incident has left a deep sense of concern within residents for the well-being of their children and families. An umbrella body of resident welfare associations in Noida and Greater Noida, NEFOMA, has issued a statement about the alleged terror of Bangladeshis in Noida. The body has also suggested similar preventive measures before hiring Bangladeshi workers.
WhatsApp messages showed that while some societies like Prateek and Hyde Park have already gone ahead and decided not to hire Bangaldeshi workers as domestic help, others are contemplating the same. Some residents like those in Amrapali are calling for stricter norms for verification of those being hired as domestic help. They too want a ban on Bangladeshi workers fearing a similar situation in the future as well.
The mob that attacked the residential society in Noida on Wednesday primarily comprised of Bangladeshi immigrants who have settled in large numbers in a nearby area, popularly referred to as the Bangladeshi Colony by many residents here.
Meanwhile, the Noida police has booked over 300 people in connection the stone-pelting at the society on Wednesday morning. Four FIRs have been registered so far and 13 people have been arrested in connection with the incident. A total of 58 people were taken into custody since Wednesday. The FIRs were lodged with the Noida Police on behalf of the builder, the residents and the employer. The domestic help has also been booked in connection with the case.
Police also admitted that Zora was found inside the apartment complex, but CCTV footage from Wednesday proved that she was not held captive, a Hindustan Times report today quoted the SHO of Sector 49 police station as saying. The report also quoted the emergency medical officer of the hospital as saying said that Zora was admitted there on Wednesday morning but was discharged within an hour after medical tests showed nothing wrong with her.
Residents have also been unanimous in negating the account of the worker, Zohra Bibi, who alleged that she was hit, abused and held hostage by her employer in the society. A statement issued by the employer in question also reveals how his family was threatened by the mob that breached the society gate and made their way inside their flat.
“…in the morning they came in groups ... They entered in my house by breaking the door glass. It was terrifying. It's about our life and I am afraid about the safety of my family and kid,” the statement read.
A message by another resident made another chilling account of what transpired at the apartment. “Many of us were there since 6am..for people who were inside and outside the house trying to protect the family, cant tell you that we will never forget what we saw..,” said one resident, going on to narrate the words allegedly used by some members of the mob who had entered the house and ransacked it for 30 minutes. “We locked the family inside the bathroom with few residents and guards protecting them…they would have been killed today if residents and guards were not there…,” the message added.
The employer in question, however, has denied the allegation and accused the domestic help of stealing and orchestrating the entire attack to save her own skin. The police, which had a tough time controlling the mob attack, says that the matter is under investigation and that both sides have levelled allegations against each other.
Here is the full statement of the resident who the maid alleged of hitting and holding her hostage:
“Yesterday our Bangaladeshi maid who does cleaning was asked if she has stolen money as we had intuitions that she is doing that. We told her that we have a video of her stealing money from home. She thought that she got cought and she accepted that she had stolen Rs.10000 which she asked to adjust in her salary. We denied that and said that we will inform about her in facility as she can do this in other 12 houses of Mahagun too. She insisted not to inform in facility as she will loose work. But we chose to inform in facility and asked her to come to facility with us. When asked to come to facility she ran away and the same will be cptured in cctv too. She left her phone at my home in this incident. The time was around 5:30 in the evening and on the spot i went to facility, informed everything to Mr.Ramaswami in facility and submitted the phone to him. He said you don't worry and he will take care of it as these Maids as they do this often. I went back to home.
Then at 9 pm 2 ladies from Mahagun came to my home along with the husband of the maid and 2 guards. They asked us that this Maid Zora dint came back home. I informed the whole incident but suddenly her husband asked me that you have taken her phone. I thought how his husband knows that the phone is with me if his wife dint reached back home. I came to know that they are making story and the same was analysed by the mahagun ladies who came with him.
Then around 10:30 her husband came again with 2 policemen at my home. He might had called on 100 number. He was asking me that where is his wife. I informed the whole incident again to police and also told them about the phone. Policeman shouted on his husband and asked him not to disturb us. They also told me and they do these things often and you don't need to worry. They told her husband to search for his wife outside or file a complaint as she is not here and we do not have to do anything with her.
We slept assuming that the story is over pledging not to hire any Bangladeshi Maid in future.
But in the morning they came in groups and you all know the scenario. They entered in my house by breaking the door glass. It was terrifying. It's about our life and I am afraid about the safety of my family and kid.
I believe if searched on cctv it can be found how, when and where this maid went out of Mahagun. It was terrifying..”