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India: The case of Zohra, a domestic worker in Noida in Sector 78

A report from some activists based in Delhi

15 July

Version imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

via Pamela Philipose

The case of Zohra, a domestic worker in Noida. Notice how the residents of the buildings close ranks and how the police come out to support them, no questions asked.

This is a report from some activists who had gone to meet the workers in the basti where Zohra, the domestic worker who works in Noida Sector 78 lives:

Today, a team of us went to meet Zohra, her family and the others in her colony in Noida in Sector 78.

In this brutal case of violence against a domestic worker who works for a meagre amount of Rs.1500 for a month, Zohra went missing from Tuesday evening onwards. The family immediately approached the police but they didn’t do anything about it. Her husband was shooed away by the guards and the landlords saying that she was not in the complex premises, while the register did not mark her as ’exit’ at the gate. The next morning, when hundreds of domestic workers along with their families went to put pressure on the landlord, she was actually brought out from the very premises by the security guards and her employers.

In the confrontation that followed, the guards did three rounds of air firing too. Zohra was taken away by the police, and was finally dropped at her home much later upon pressure from her family.

On the night of 12th, over 3-4 vehicle full of police barged into the colony and picked up all the men, including Zohra’s eldest son who is only 15 years old. Today, 13 people have been framed under Attempt to Murder and Rioting charges.

Threats of eviction and continuous intimidation of the workers continue.

Today, the media and the RWA along with the police are on an all out witch hunt against these very workers who toiled in their houses cleaning all their filth. It didn’t take them seconds to show their class unity, and they have filed 3 FIR’s against the workers, alleging them to be ’illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Meanwhile absolutely no action has been take on the first complaint and FIR that was filed by Zohra’s husband and family members. The Sethi’s and rest of the RWA continue to threaten all the workers and have barred them from entering the premises till the ’case is settled’!

Zohra’s case is not an isolated and exceptional case. Hundreds of domestic workers, all living in colonies around these modern high-rise buildings work from morning to evening, cleaning, cooking and washing huge houses for meagre salaries of Rs.1200, Rs.1500 or Rs.2000 per month. Most workers said that they don’t even get time to eat their food.

Zohra said, as we met her, "if i was rich enough to throw 10 rupees at them, some action would’ve been taken by now against them."

Let us remember Ranjitha, a Bodo A
ssamese domestic worker who was forced to kill herself by jumping from the 11th floor of a DLF building in Gurgaon just two months back.

Let us also uphold the militant fight put up by Zohra’s family and the hundreds of her fellow workers who came together to rescue her and shook that upper class arrogance.

Red salute to the struggles of toiling women like Zohra and her friends.

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