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Gurgaon: Mahagun rerun averted as domestic helps protest, block community gates in Sector 71

Sensing trouble, the residents took the onus of settling the dispute and assured the helps that their demand for a pay hike will be looked into

gurgaon Updated: Jul 31, 2017 10:46 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Domestic help protested,Gurugram,Tulip Ivory
The protesting domestic helps threatened to stop work immediately if their salaries were not increased.(HT PHOTO)

A number of domestic helps staged a protest and blocked the gate of Tulip Orange and Ivory condominiums in Sector 71 on Sunday morning, demanding wage hike. The protest took place at 6.30am and the helps did not allow residents to move in and out of the complex.

The incident comes nearly eleven days after Noida’s Mahagun Modern society in Sector 78 saw riotous scenes as domestic helps hurled stones at the complex after a maid was allegedly beaten up by one of the residents for stealing money.

The protesting domestic helps threatened to stop work immediately if their salaries were not increased. The residents, fearing a Noida-like situation, resolved the matter within half an hour.

Residents also called up the police to ensure order and prevent the situation from getting out of hand. A PCR from Badshahpur police station rushed to the spot, but the matter had already been resolved by then. Residents decided against filing a complaint against the protesting helps.

Residents said they got scared after seeing a large number of domestic helps gathered at the gates.

“When I heard about the protest, I was scared. I saw more than 100 domestic helps standing outside our society’s entrance and speaking to some residents in an aggressive tone,” Ajit Bothra, a resident of Tulip Ivory, said.

“We help them with whatever they need and yet, they rose against us today. We even helped them in getting their police verification done and provided other facilities for them. The salaries of domestic helps here are fixed and it isn’t fair on their part to demand a wage hike. This is disturbing trend,” Vikas Ranjan, president, RWA, Tulip Orange, said.

Read I Mayhem in Noida’s Mahagun Moderne society after maid is ‘beaten up’

Residents claimed that though some domestic helps were caught stealing, they were forgiven and not handed over to the police.

“The wages (of domestic helps) in our sector are already on the higher side. How can we agree to their wage hike demand? Each of them work in two to three apartments and earns more than ₹25,000 a month. Residents in other sectors don’t pay such wages to their domestic helps. They are trying to blackmail us. We can’t accept their undue demand,” Ranjita, another resident of Tulip Ivory, said.

Domestic helps working in the twin societies charge Rs 2,000 for cleaning and washing utensils, Rs 6,000 for cooking, Rs 200 per person for washing clothes and Rs 500 one-time dusting.

Residents did not move out of the society on Sunday until afternoon and parents did not allow children to even play in their gated complex.

“There have been several cases of theft in our societies, but we didn’t report them to the police. However, since the incident in the Noida society, we are scared and don’t want such incidents happening here. The husbands of many of our domestic helps are employed as security guards here, while some are drivers. They have access to our apartments. We felt helpless today,” Ajay Sharma, another resident of Tulip Ivory, said.

The domestic helps, however, put out a different version of events.

“While I was entering through the gate, one of the maids asked me to sit out as we were not allowed to enter. Later, my employer came and asked me to start work and I went in,” Hanufa Khatun, a resident of Malda, West Bengal, who works in Tulip Ivory, said.

Another maid Manjula said, “I was told that the protest for a wage hike. I stopped at the gate and joined the protesting women. But there were many among them who I hadn’t seen before.”

Sub-inspector Suresh Kumar, additional station house officer, Badshahpur police station, said, “We rushed to the spot as soon as we received the call. When we questioned the domestic helps on what happened they said they gathered at the gates to demand an increase in wages. Residents assured them that their demand will be considered at a meeting next Sunday.”

The helps employed in the twin societies mostly reside in Fazilpur, Badshahpur and the slum areas in Sector 70/71.

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 22:55 IST