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A day after violence erupted in Mahagun Moderne society in Noida sector 78 over the ‘disappearance’ of a domestic help, 13 people have been arrested for allegedly pelting stones at the society premises on Wednesday morning, police said.
“So far, 13 people have been arrested in connection with the stone-pelting. In all, four FIRs have been lodged. Zohra Bibi, the domestic help who was allegedly confined and beaten up by the residents of flat 012, has filed a case against her employer, Harshu Sethi, and other occupants of the flat. The Sethis, on the other hand have filed a case against Zohra, her husband and other unknown persons accompanying them for rioting and damaging their property. Another FIR, registered on the complaint of the society residents, names the domestic help’s husband and around 500 others.
The fourth FIR is based on a complaint by the security guards of the society, wherein they have named 11 people and accused 100 unknown persons for rioting and causing damage to property. Investigation is still underway and we are looking at CCTV footage and other evidence to ascertain the sequence of events on Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Arun Kumar Singh, SP City, Gautam Buddha Nagar.
Around 5 am on Wednesday, at least 100 people had gathered at the gate of the housing society in Noida Sector 78 demanding that Zohra be produced.
She had been missing since Tuesday evening, her family had claimed. Between 5 am and 6.30 am, the crowd — mostly comprising domestic helps and daily wage labourers, who live in a temporary settlement less than a kilometre away — forcefully entered the society, pelted stones, ransacked a ground floor flat and shattered the glass walls of the security guards’ room.
Soon after, the guards brought Zohra out, allegedly from the basement of the housing complex. She later told police that she was beaten up and confined after being accused of stealing money by her employers. Her employers, however, denied all allegations and maintained that Zohra had admitted that she had stolen money on Tuesday evening.
Following the incident, residents of the area accused domestic helps of being ‘Bangladeshis’, demanding that strict action be taken against those responsible for the violence. On the accusations of domestic helps being called ‘Bangladeshis’, Singh said, “Many migrants from Bengal work in this society. The security and the society itself have checked their ID proof and employed them. On the basis of her Aadhaar card, Zohra Bibi was employed as a domestic help at several flats in that society. Prima facie, it seems this was an attempt to deviate the focus of the case. In our investigation till now, no such evidence of any of these workers being ‘Bangladeshis’ has come out. All of them have some form of ID proof. However, we will check if these IDs are valid.”