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Fear and loathing in Moderne times

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on Tue, 2018-01-02 02:47

Under Noida new metro line, which runs beside the thick clusters of high-rise apartments, Zohra Bibi walks blearily between two cement pillars, dragging her rubber chappals along the gravel. Her home is the blue tarpaulin-covered slum on the fringes of Sector 78 rapidly shrinking farmlands, sticking out like an eyesore against the backdrop of glittering apartment towers. She picks her stained teeth with a twig and speaks between long pauses, losing her train of thought mid-sentence. Her sunken eyes are mostly down. don remember much, she says.

On the night of July 12, #MaldainNoida trended on Twitter, hours after a mob of domestic workers barged through the gates of Mahagun Moderne, an upscale apartment complex in Sector 78. When Zohra (28), who works in seven of the 2,700 flats there, didn return home on July 11, her husband, Abdul Sattar, dialled 100 and then proceeded to Mahagun Moderne with a pounding heart. She was nowhere to be found, not even at Harshu Sethi house, where she was last seen and where her mobile phone continued to ring. Sattar returned to the spot the next morning. asked the guards to help me check the boot of the outgoing cars and pried them open, says Sattar, a petite man with angry eyes, who is a construction worker at Surajpur Buy Cheap Cigarettes Online, Greater Noida. By 7am on July 12, he had gathered a few people from his jhuggi (slum dwelling). I told them was it my wife today; it could be yours tomorrow, he says. Over 200 of them mainly household workers and their spouses, who are construction labourers joined Sattar at the Mahagun Moderne gate, armed with sticks, stones and iron rods, convinced that Zohra was being held captive by the Sethis.

In the presence of Noida police personnel, the society security guards and hundreds of residents, a section of the protesting workers forced their way through a ground-floor porch and into the Sethi home. They broke everything they could lay their hands on while the family, including their seven-year-old son, locked themselves in the bathroom and screamed for help.

Harshu, a teacher at a preschool in the vicinity, claims she caught Zohra stealing. In a personal message to the residents, she wrote that Zohra, when confronted, had admitted to stealing It was when Harshu and her husband, Mitul, threatened to turn her over to the building facility office that she fled. think they hate us for the money, Harshu was quoted as saying in The New York Times (she declined to speak to BLink). Mitul filed an FIR with the Noida police, accusing Zohra of theft, and Sattar and an unnamed mob of attempt to murder. Two other FIRs by a resident and the Mahagun Moderne management accuse them of rioting with deadly weapons and criminal intimidation.

According to Zohra version, Harshu is a verbally abusive employer who doesn pay her enough for doing the chores twice a day. should been paid for that amount of work cleaning bathrooms, dusting and washing clothes in her large home weren part of the deal, says Zohra. Frustrated with the constant criticism, she decided to stop working at the Sethi something that the employers seemed to be okay with. The trouble began on her last day at the Sethi household precisely when Zohra was doing the dishes in the evening. held me by the arm and accused me of stealing some four-five thousand [rupees]. She dragged me out saying she turn me over to the facility office. When I protested, she pushed and hit me and then I don remember a thing. Perhaps I was fed something that made me unconscious, says the mother of four, her voice trailing off. The Noida police recorded an FIR based on Zohra complaint, charging the Sethis of voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful confinement.

In Sattar version, the fact that he heard her phone ringing in the Sethi home led him to assume that Zohra was under confinement. But where was she found? god, the guard (the one who escorted her out of the building) and Zohra can tell. She still hasn told me anything, Sattar says, casting her an accusing look.

The residents version is that CCTVs have recorded Zohra leaving the Avlon tower on the morning of the mob attack Discount Cigarettes Online. Some believe that she taken refuge at one of her other employer for the night and feigned being unconscious when the guards eventually found her.

A Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) team, sent to help Zohra record her statement with the police and ensure proper medical check-up, found bruises all over the domestic worker body. (and the women police constables) could see fresh injuries on her face. she had been slapped several times, says Asha Yadav of DCW. The medical report, however, has ruled out abuse.

you know she is in an abusive marriage? Almost every employer has seen her turn up for work with a black eye and bruises. She was running away from her own husband, said a resident on condition of anonymity.

The only time Zohra looks straight into my eyes is when I ask her if Sattar beats her. Sattar was 16 and Zohra 11 when they married in Cooch Behar, West Bengal. husbands and wives exchange a few words and sometimes there is maara-maari (physical violence) Menthol Cigarettes Brands, she says carefully. The women gathered around her listen in silence.

What does Zohra want now? of all the men arrested for my sake, she says, referring to the police rounding up of 13 men including her 15-year-old son from her jhuggi in the past week. A few pieces of the puzzle will always go missing. Just as Zohra became a symbol of threat for the Sethis, and the residents are still rattled by the audacity of the poor to take law in their own hands Best Menthol Cigarettes, her crisis became the perfect watershed moment for the poor to target their frustration en masse, against the gnawing class divide. It is, after all, about that familiar crossroad where the poor are always starved for options of survival, opting for desperate measures the rich cannot fathom.

For five days after the incident not a single maid was let into the society barring those who doubled as medical help. The residents wanted teach them all a lesson But Monday, July 17, marked a new week and nobody wanted their homes to smell any riper or pile the dishes any higher. By then, residents had had enough of cleaning bathrooms and feeding whining infants. By July 18, the list of banned names had grown to 147. Over 80 per cent of the names were Bengali Muslim. Twitterati hinted at excommunicating with posts such as these:

Bangladeshi Muslims riot inside a society in Noida. Reason a bangladeshi maid was caught red handed while stealing.

In the gullies of Borola gaon, some distance away from Zohra house, there is an uncomfortable silence and shuffling of feet as everybody claims they don know Zohra. The Mahagun Moderne cleaners, cooks and nannies who live here, know that solidarity will cost them their jobs. House cleaners get between and a month; cooks earn between and and nannies between and depending on the number of hours they work.

The mob that tore into the society, spewing anger, lives here, among these very demure faces. What spurred it then?

Stories of indignity meted out range from tea and water offered in broken cups to dismissals after employers found out they were Muslims, not being allowed to use the toilet, and denial of food and water (The fridge water will give you a cold. Go drink elsewhere).

But what hurts them most is not being paid for months. once worked at a home that I treated like my own. And then one day I heard memsaab tell her husband to shut the cupboard so that I don cast nazar (evil eye) on her samaan. I felt sick at her pettiness Cheap Cigarettes Online, says Haseena Bibi.

tell us we save your salary for you. But when we need it, they accuse us of stealing so they don have to part with a lump sum, says Rafia Bibi, who works a 12-hour shift in a neighbouring society.

easy for them to brand us as thieves. Who will believe us? We are thinking of moving back to Cooch Behar, says Salma Begum, who feels Muslim workers are more discriminated against.

Earlier this week, the society residents decided to raze down illegal establishments opposite the complex. They suspected the mob was supported by the shopkeepers who mend their clothes and shoes, brought home the vegetables they ordered on phone and sold them cigarettes. On July 17, two bulldozers reduced a street full of shops to rubble. The same morning, the domestic workers stood in a snaking queue outside the society gate while the sahibs and memsahibs gathered in a sweaty crowd on the inside, fussing at having to verify their maids while hiding their desperation to have them back in.

200 workers for the crime of a handful and depriving them of their livelihood will create a group of unemployed and revengeful miscreants who will compromise the security of the residents in the long run. The socio-economic divide is set to grow starker and may create a mini-Maoist group right at our doorstep, says a resident.

As the story continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how the residents of Manchester, Manhattan, Romano and Venezia (all tower names) will step down from their ivory citadels and function without the support of the informal market and on half the strength of their domestic workers.

If living in towers named after world-class cities is the realisation of a repressed dream, it is well-worth for the residents to emulate their ethos by working up a sweat and learning to do one own chores.
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