On Thursday afternoon, the twin gates of Mahagun Moderne, separated by a room with shattered windows, remained closed for hundreds of its employees, most of them working as domestic helps in about 2,000 flats in the luxury high-rise society in Noida’s Sector 78. A decree has been passed at the housing society — none of the 500 domestic helps employed there will be allowed to enter the complex. “We have stopped entry of all domestic helps in the society. There are at least 500 such people who come here every day.
A team is looking at the process of verification and taking suggestions from residents on the measures that need to be in place,” said Amit Gupta, a resident of Mahagun Moderne “Till a consensus on the matter is reached, they will not be allowed to enter the society’s premises. In special cases, occupants need to approach the facility centre for permission. A meeting of residents is scheduled to take place on Sunday where further course of action will be decided,” Gupta added.
Less than a kilometre away from Mahagun Moderne, in a temporary settlement where tin roofs serve as shelter and blue porta cabins, bathrooms, there is anger and resentment. Thirteen men were picked up by police late Wednesday and arrested Thursday morning. “They have taken our people into custody. Zohra was beaten up and kept hostage by her employer. There is a police case. Why has the police not taken any action on her complaint?” asked Meena Bibi, a resident of the colony. Like Zohra, Meena hails from Cooch Behar in north Bengal and works as a domestic help.
The unpaved path from the road leading to the colony is covered with rainwater puddles, broken tiles, and bricks have been placed along the way to help residents reach their rooms. Most women residents of this “Bangladeshi colony” — a termed used by occupants of luxury flats and penthouses surrounding it — work as domestic help while the men are daily wage labourers. At Mahagun Moderne, these workers are given “name tags” to enter its premises after they sign in a separate register. Since Wednesday, no resident of the “Bangladeshi Colony” has gone to work.