Thirteen shanties at the worker settlement, disparagingly called ‘Bangladeshi colony’, lie locked after its residents were arrested, with little hope of bail. For the ones left behind, both jobs and money are hard to come by.
The arrests took place after two police raids on July 12 and 13. Their families have since left the settlement, fearing more arrests. Mohsina Bibi, who stayed back, said, “Anyone who lives here is now afraid the police will come and arrest us. They don’t care about our side of the story. Only those who live in big flats have a say.”
Since the arrests, no one from the settlement has gone to work at Mahagun Moderne, while other societies have also fired some domestic helps citing “security reasons”. In the absence of a source of income, fighting legal cases is virtually impossible, say residents.
“The fees for the lawyer to apply for bail was Rs 500. We didn’t have that much. Only a few of us could afford to pay. Now we don’t know where our next meal will come from. We moved to Noida to work, earn, save a little and send it home. But we are not wanted here,” said a family member of an arrested accused.
Residents of Mahagun, meanwhile, said at least 60 domestic workers — allegedly identified in CCTV footage as being part of the mob that gathered outside the society on July 12 — have been barred from entering the society. “The decision not to let them enter has been taken unanimously. Until a proper verification process is carried out, such people will not be allowed entry,” said a Mahagun resident.
Meanwhile, Mahagun and other gated societies have been pressuring police for a “sustained drive” to verify domestic helps and to “increase security”.