It was a close call for 50-year-old Munni (she goes by one name only) when hundreds of hoodlums armed with rods, sticks and containers of kerosene barged into the house of her employer of 35 years, Rita Bahuguna Joshis, vandalised it and set some rooms on fire.
“When policemen came looking for Didi’s (Joshi’s) staff at 11 pm, I suspected foul play. While the policemen picked up five staffers, I managed to hide in the toilet,” Munni said, recounting the horror.
“Before leaving the house, the policemen ensured that no one was left inside it. They checked all the rooms. They knocked on the door of the toilet and asked if anyone was inside. I remained silent and kept praying to the Almighty for safety.”
She went on: “I saw from the window that a large crowd had gathered outside the house. They were agitated and raising slogan against Didi. The gameplan was clear that before the hoodlums charged into the house, the policemen ensured that no eyewitness was around.”
“The policemen packed the six other people in the house into a vehicle and drove off. Soon after, the hoodlums entered the house and set the vehicles parked in the compound on fire. They broke the door of the house and entered. Two rooms were set on fire and the house was full of smoke.”
“I could hear their voices and the abusive language against Didi. They remained inside the house for more than an hour and indulged in vandalism. The smoke filled the toilet and I gasped for air. At one point, I feared I would die. Yet, I could not come out as the hoodlums would have surely killed me.”
“At 3 pm, a staffer from the Congress office arrived and called me. Then I came out. Though the fire did not reach the toilet, I could feel the heat,” Munni said.