Mayhem in Noida’s Mahagun Moderne society after maid is ‘beaten up’
Residents of an apartment complex in Noida woke up to a riot-like situation on Wednesday morning, when a mob stormed its gates and vandalised the premises.
Police said over 300 people gathered at the gates of the Mahagun Moderne around 6 am, alleging that one of its residents had assaulted a domestic help. Many even managed to overpower the security guards and forced their way into the premises.
“Most of the protesters were domestic helps and acquaintances of the woman, Zora Bibi,” said superintendent of police (city) Arun Kumar Singh, who rushed to the scene with a police team. The situation remained chaotic for over three hours, and terror-stricken residents dared not step out.
“However, we eventually managed to contain the protest. The road outside the complex was also cleared for traffic,” said the officer, who was aided by superintendent of police (rural) Suniti and circle officer (city) Rajeev Kumar Singh in defusing the situation.
According to the residents, the woman was allegedly caught stealing money from an apartment belonging to one Mitul Sethi. She had fled when he threatened to report the matter to the apartment management, they contended.
Police said many of the agitators were armed with iron rods, and were pelting stones indiscriminately. In the chaos, around 25 people gained entry to Sethi’s apartment and vandalised it. “Nobody has been detained till now. It will take us time to ascertain the facts. We will examine CCTV cameras installed on the premises too,” said Singh, adding that cases of stone-pelting and rioting will be lodged.
Police said the matter would need a thorough probe because conflicting versions were being furnished by the two warring parties.
Zora Bibi said she had only sought two months’ salary – amounting to Rs 12,000 – from her employers. “But instead of paying what was owed to me, they accused me of stealing Rs 17,000 from the house. I was beaten up. I fled to the basement of the apartment complex in terror, and the guards brought me out early this morning,” her statement to the police read.
Police registered a case on the basis of Zora Bibi’s complaint at the Sector 49 police station. Later that evening, Sethi filed a counter-complaint with the police. “When I enquired about the money she stole, Zora Bibi asked me to deduct it from her salary and not report the matter to the apartment management. We have footage to prove our case,” he said.
Zora Bibi’s husband, Abdul Sattar, told police that he and his friends – all residents of Barola area in Sector 49 – had only gone to Mahagun Moderne to enquire about her. “But they beat us with batons, forcing us to throw stones in self-defence. They even threatened to kill us,” he said.
Police admitted that the maid was found inside the apartment complex in the morning, following which she was taken to a hospital. “Zora Bibi was brought here at 9.10 am. However, she was discharged within an hour after a medical test failed to find anything wrong with her,” said Dr Bindu, the emergency medical officer.
Parshuram, SHO of the Sector 49 police station, said they have procured footage proving that the woman was not being held captive at the apartment. “Moreover, a woman in the society has told us that Zora Bibi stayed at her apartment. We have registered FIRs under different sections in both cases, and separate investigations are in progress,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission of Women sent two counsellors to Noida after reports of the incident poured in. “They met the woman and helped her register the FIR. Noida is not in our jurisdiction, but we took the step on humanitarian grounds,” said Bhupinder Singh, media advocacy officer of the Delhi Commission for Women.