A day after migrant workers living in a three-storey building in Manesar’s Aliyar village were beaten up by 20-25 local residents, police Thursday arrested eight men for the crime — only to find that they were among those “assisting” a committee constituted by the panchayat to enforce lockdown in the area.
Police said the accused — Ravi (36), Narendra (39), Pritam, Ramesh, Alok, Ravindra, Rahul, and Sudhir (31) — are residents of Bas Hariya village 500 metres away. “The accused were among those helping a committee formed by the village panchayat to distribute ration and inspire people to stay at home, and also keep an eye on those wandering around,” said Subhash Boken, PRO of Gurgaon Police.
The accused, police say, claimed they were at a vegetable shop next to the establishment where the violence took place and were trying to tell the shopkeeper to remain open only between 8 am and 11 am, and 4 pm and 8 pm.
“They claimed that tenants living in the next building started making noises and poking fun at them. They claimed this had happened on two instances earlier as well. The accused claimed the two groups got into an argument, which eventually led to the fight,” said the PRO.
The complainant, however, alleged that the accused barged into the building, which houses around 600 workers — some of whom work at the Maruti Manesar plant — armed with cricket bats and hockey sticks.
“They pulled people out of their rooms; those who were bathing were also dragged and beaten,” said Rajkishore from Bihar, who escaped by locking himself in his third-floor room.
Residents alleged locals had been harassing them since the lockdown began. “The administration has allowed people to step out for essentials… If we are doing anything wrong, police or administration should take action, who are these people?” said Rajkishore.
Another worker from Jharkhand, who has been residing in the building for the last three years, said, “I was eating when they broke open the door and started beating us. They didn’t even explain why. We haven’t slept all night because we are scared the mob will return. We don’t want to be here; if we had some means, we would have left.”
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