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Verify or you’ll be ‘maid’ to suffer

For Bhavishya and Shipra Sharma, residents of Eldeco Mansion on Sohna Road, hiring a domestic help last month without verification turned out to be the biggest mistake of their life. Leena Dhankhar and Badri Chatterjee report.

india Updated: May 31, 2013 01:34 IST
Maid verification,domestic helps verification,Ashwani Narula

For Bhavishya and Shipra Sharma, residents of Eldeco Mansion on Sohna Road, hiring a domestic help last month without verification turned out to be the biggest mistake of their life.

Within four days, the accused — Pooja and her accomplice Devi Lal — kidnapped the couple’s four-year-old son after assaulting Shipra brutally. The duo, who decamped with jewellery and other valuables in the couple’s car, demanded Rs 5 lakh ransom for the child’s release. Thankfully, the police were able to catch the culprits within two hours from Palwal district.

Rising cases of theft, robbery and abduction by domestic helps in the city have raised serious questions on the safety of residents, particularly children, who often spend most of the day alone with domestic helps.

Gurgaon has a floating population of more than five lakh maids, domestic helps, drivers, gardeners, carpenters, masons and industrial and construction workers.

With the number of working couples rising in Gurgaon, children are left at the mercy of domestic helps who have become a necessity in almost every household. Sanjeev Verma/HT

With rapid urbanisation, influx of white-collar professionals and rising number of working couples, the demand for domestic helps is further increasing. While the police are often blamed for the rising crime rate, in such cases it is often the employers who fail to take security adequate measures and get a police verification done.

“People rarely come to police stations to get a verification done for their helps,” says Maheshwar Dayal, Gurgaon joint commissioner of police.

Rakesh Bansal, superintendent of police of Gumla district in Jharkhand from where a substantial number of helps come to work in Gurgaon, confirms Dayal’s version. “We rarely get verification requests of helps from our counterparts in NCR unless it’s for address verification of a person from the region who has got a government job,” says Bansal. The Gumla police have constituted an anti-human trafficking unit to curb the practice.

Men and women from economically backward regions of the country are often lured with the promise of a better life or many a time trafficked to parts of the National Capital Region and made to work as helps in homes.

Bansal added, “Our counterparts in Delhi-NCR keep alerting us about crimes so that we can help them track culprits if they return to their native places. Most of the time, no proper police verification is conducted before helps are hired.”

According to a rough estimate, more than 200 placement agencies based out of South Delhi and Gurgaon supply domestic helps in the Millennium City.

Several of these agencies fail to get verifications conducted as hundreds of youths from across the country are trafficked here.

Ashwani Narula, president of Gurgaon-based firm Hamari Suraksha that maintains a database of verified helps and works with the police to facilitate verification, said they are receiving several requests lately. “It is in the interest of both the employers as well the employees to get a verification done. While it gives the employers a sense of security, it ensures that verified helps get better jobs. As they are considered to be more reliable, they are paid better.”

First Published: May 31, 2013 00:54 IST