Four days after an 18-year-old woman from Assam, who was employed as a domestic help, died after falling from the eleventh floor of an upscale condominium in Gurgaon, the Centre for Struggling Women (CSW), along with other domestic workers, staged a demonstration outside the Police Commissioner’s office, demanding “justice”.
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Members of the Gharelu Kamgar Union (GKU), North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) and All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) also participated in the demonstration, which began at 2 pm and culminated a couple of hours later, with the submission of a memorandum to Sandeep Khirwar, Commissioner of Police.
Protesters alleged that the police personnel at Sushant Lok police station were hand in glove with the accused in the case — the couple who had employed the deceased — and had initially refused to file an FIR in the matter, suggesting a settlement instead. The incident took place on Friday night, a day after the deceased, Ranjeeta Brahma, was employed at the home of Rohit and Sonal Mehta in Carlton Estate, police said.
A case had been registered regarding the matter at the Sushant Lok police station under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 341 (wrongful restrain). The family of the deceased, however, alleged foul play.
The family claims that after arriving at the couple’s home, Ranjeeta had called up her brother asking to be taken home because she could not adjust to the work. When her sister-in-law arrived to pick her up the next day, however, the couple allegedly refused to allow her to leave, demanding that they be given a replacement first.
Dr Deepak Mathur, who conducted the post-mortem, contradicted claims of foul play, saying, “The woman appears to have died due to a fall from a great height… There are no other torture marks or signs of physical abuse on her body.”
In the memorandum submitted to Khirwar, protesters have demanded the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT), saying that they “distrust the functioning of the local police station”.
They have also demanded the arrest of the accused to prevent “tampering of evidence”, as well as broadening of the police investigation to include murder charges in the FIR.
“The police have found the body, but they have not found a suicide note, so how can this be cited as a case of suicide? The lady was being held against her wishes… Why has a case of murder not been registered? This must be done,” said Maya John, convener, CSW, adding, “Copies of the memorandum will also be submitted to the National Commission for Women, the Haryana Commission for Women, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, since Ranjeeta was a member of the Bodo community.”
Gurgaon Police, however, said an SIT had already been constituted on Sunday to probe the matter. “The SIT is headed by Harinder Kumar, ACP (DLF), and has two other officers, including a female ASI and the SHO of Sushant Lok police station. The matter is being probed, and only further investigations will reveal what really happened,” said Deepak Saharan, DCP (east).
Ranjeeta’s body, meanwhile, was cremated in Assam on Monday, the protesters said.