NOIDA Shanties where Zohrabi Lived Pulled Down, Amidst Heavy Rain

Image Courtesy: The Hindu
The Hindu reported that without notice or warning, shanties outside the Mahajan Moderne residential complex, where domestic worker Zohrabi had been allegedly confined and abused last week, were razed to the ground on Monday morning in the midst of pouring rain. Residents claim they were given no warning; forced to sit outside in heavy rain

Last week, Sabrangindi had reported how Zohrabi, a domestic worker, allegedly illegally confined and abused had found restoration and acknoledgement after citizens placed the issue on social media. Her neighbours,agitated over rumours of her confinement (found to be true) had, on July 12 stormed the housing society and vandalised property.

Five days after the mob vandalised property at the Mahagun Moderne residential society in Sector 78, the Noida Authority on Monday razed over three dozen shanties in the area where most of the agitators lived, the original crime committed by the employers of Zohrabi has been sought to be white-washed as the NOIDA authorities appear to have acted at the behest of residents of this posh housing complex and made the entire shanty ‘pay.’ Payback by the rich it seems.

Reports said that on July 12, a mob armed with sticks and stones stormed the housing society following allegations that their neighbour, a domestic help, was beaten up and held hostage by a family living in the luxury apartments. Before that all efforts by the husband of Zohrabi to locate her from inside the posh building had met with no success.

It was ‘citizen journalism’ at its very best. When Nilanjana Bhowmick and Tathagata Bhattacharya informed India and the world of the brute treatment meted out to 26 year-old Zohrabi, a domestic help in Noida, it set of a chain of concern and awareness that is seething, still. Their post said:

Edited after speaking to Zohra:
This is Zohra, a 26 year old who works as a domestic help in Noida. Following a tiff with her employer, she went missing for a day. Her family and neighbors – poor day wage laborers – started protesting and demanding to know her whereabouts. I spoke to her a while back and she confirmed she was locked up in a room the whole day [not in the boot of the car as my original post said]. Noida police, instead of taking action, is now firing at the protesters. There are at least five of them waiting outside, waiting for me to address this. I feel helpless and quite wretched because apart from posting on social media and speaking to the police, I don’t even know from where I should start addressing this deep rot!!

The residents of the shanties alleged that the authorities did not give them any prior notice before they razed their homes.Following the demolition, heavy rain lashed the city, and many of the families could be seen getting soaked as they had no shelter.

They told The Hindu:

“I have two little children and they are forced to sit in the open in the heavy rain. I cannot shift my family anywhere. If the demolition had been planned, then we should have been given some time. Where will I take my family now?” said Mohd. Javed.

“I had taken out a loan to run a tea stall. They [Noida Authority] also razed my shop. Their action has not only made us homeless, but robbed us of our livelihood,” he added.
Noida Authority officials, meanwhile, said that the demolition was part of an anti-encroachment drive.

The move to demolish the shanties came after Noida Authority additional CEO R. K. Mishra inspected the area on Saturday after residents of the society complained of security issues to Noida Authority CEO Amit Mohan Prasad.“On the complaints of security due to illegal encroachment, the authority razed the shanties and makeshift shops,” said Mr. Mishra.

‘Tussle proved costly’
Mahmood, a tailor who lived in the shanties, said they were given no time to move. “Heavy police force surrounded the area in the morning. The Noida Authority then razed all the shanties. We could not even shift our families,” he said.

“Many of the housing society’s residents had given expensive clothes to me for alteration. Now they will be after me for their clothes,” he added.

“We were peacefully living in the area and offered services to the upscale residential societies. We never realised that a tussle between a maid and apartment owners would prove to be so costly for so many families,” said Ramesh, who had lived in one of the shanties.

The residents said they had received a letter from the authorities two months ago asking them to clear encroachment from the road.

The shanties were then moved to a land that they claim belongs to a private citizen. The authorities, however, said that the land belongs to the Noida Authority.

If the demolition had been planned, then we should have been given some time to move. Where will I take my family now?… I have two little children and they are forced to sit in the open in the heavy rain, ” said Mohd. Javed, resident of the slum near Mahajan Moderne



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