Noida Domestic Helpers’ Shanties Vandalised: What Has Happened So Far In The Maid-Employer Conflict
After a mob gheraoed the premises of Mahagun Moderne Society, Sector 78 Noida on the morning of 12 July, the Noida Authority on Monday razed over three dozen makeshift shacks in the area inhabited by the agitators, as reported by The Hindu.
The residents of the shanties have alleged that they were not even given any prior warning by the authorities before their homes were demolished. They were also made to wait outside in heavy rains, soaked to the bone as they had no shelter.
One of the residents of these shanties, Mohd Javed was quoted saying, “I have two children and they are forced to sit in the open in the heavy rain. I cannot shift my family anywhere. If the demolition had been planned then we should have been given some time. Where will I take my family now?”
This action has left them homeless and rendered many jobless as well. The Noida Authority officials have said that the demolition was a part of their anti-encroachment drive. It took place after the residents of Mahagun Moderne society complained of security issues to Noida Authority CEO Amit Mohan Prasad. The orders to demolish the shanties came after he inspected the area on Saturday.
After a domestic help was allegedly beaten up by one of the residents, the inhabitants of Mahagun Moderne witnessed an unruly scene on the morning of July 12. The attackers were domestic helps and neighbours of the maid who claimed that she was confined in her employer’s house earlier. The residents, however, said that a maid was caught stealing from one of the apartments and was handed over to police
The Logical Indian contacted Noida Sector 48 Police which said that 13 people who were a part of the mob, have been arrested after their homes were raided on the night of 13 July. They are still under judicial custody on the charges of vandalisation.
Controversial statement by Union Culture minister
Mahesh Sharma, Union minister for culture, has taken the side of the residents and come out in support of the Noida family accused of assaulting the domestic help. He also said that he has directed BJP workers to give a “befitting reply” to the agitators as reported by India Today.
Sharma added that the accused in the case will “never get bail” and that this is a case of clear case of “mob-violence” against the family. A few locals also shared that in the audio interaction with them, the union minister has been heard telling the crowd that he completely understands the “compulsion” behind employing the people knowing who they are. Sharma called the maid in context the main culprit. He further added that the incident is a matter of grave concern as it questions the safety of the residents.
In the midst of these incidents, Mr Mishra, the additional CEO of Noida Authority has said that the shanties were razed due to the complaints of illegal encroachment. The administration has also maintained that razing the shanties are a part of a routine demolition.
“We were peacefully living in the area and offered services to the upscale residential societies. We never realised that a tussle between a maid and the apartment owners would prove to be so costly for so many families,” said Ramesh who has lived in the makeshift settlement.
Residents of the makeshift settlements said that they had received a letter from the authorities two months ago, asking them to clear the shanties from the road. They later had shifted to a private land which the Noida Authorities have claimed to be theirs and have now demolished.
The Logical Indian community hopes that fair investigation takes place in this case so that one can know what really happened to the maid. In the light of the latest developments, it is a class conflict which seems to be unfolding regarding the demolition of these shanties. With the minister taking sides of the residents of the gated complex and the society’s decision of not employing Bangladeshi workers, one can also figure out the faint communal colour being associated with the incidents. The demolition has caused plight to the numerous inhabitants of the shanties and they should have been forewarned. We urge the concerned authorities to probe into the matter and justice should be meted out to the ones responsible for the attack.