One of the most striking features of the lockdown, was sympathy that was generated towards the images of the helpless migrants travelling thousands of miles on roads without any proper transportation. We all felt concerned for them, hoping that all could reach their destination safely. However, as a family we had to experience a different side to these ‘helpless migrants’ and as innocent law abiding locals, we had to encounter their cruel wrath for seemingly no fault of ours?
Rohit who works for the state government strongly feels that such instances must be highlighted for others to learn and not fall prey to mob violence and the “woman card”.
As all are working members at home, they had to juggle responsibilities, and thus the family was on a lookout for a reliable domestic help during lockdown. He quotes:
For every middle class Indian, finding a good house help is no less than a battle, as they do come with their share of tantrums and demands. The daily conflicts within the home with them could vary — shirking away from any random work like cleaning the sink or not mopping some rooms — the troubles with them are endless. However, the worst happens when they leave the work midway or take an advance payment and then refuse to work. We thought these are the only possible problems that could happen, until we had to face something totally unexpected and challenging.
Rohit’s mother had recently hired a new maid through some neighbour/acquaintance in their vicinity. Everything seemed fine for next three days and she would regularly come, do her chores and leave. The maid’s mother for some reason was always keen that the girl stays back at employer’s place overnight, instead of returning to her home. The primary reason given was that the mother felt it would be safer for the girl to stay in their home, instead of returning late in the evening. Rohit shares,
The girl seemed quite happy working at our place since the atmosphere in our home is always pleasant. Mine is a family which truly believes in treating everyone with dignity and respect and for all three days that the girl was with us she could vouch for the same.
There came a twist in the regular life of the family, when this house help suddenly went missing after working briefly with them. According to Rohit, she completed her daily work and while his parents were taking their afternoon nap, she went missing. Rohit’s aunt who had been living temporarily with the family alerted them at around 4pm that day that the girl could not be traced within the home. As informed by Rohit,
My mother called the girl’s mother to enquire if she had returned home as she was not to be found. The girl’s mother landed up at our place with another girl, however, the two did not enquire or react much.
Soon, she returned with 2-3 policemen and started telling them that her daughter had gone missing and that our house needed to be searched. My mother without even asking for a warrant, allowed the police along with her mother, to search the house.
They did their bit, however, could not find the girl at our home.
Rohit says, we as a family thought this could be the end of the matter, less they knew it was just the beginning!
The house help’s mother returned with a mob of 60-70 people, all of them who were labourers/workers from the neighbouring state. They started creating a huge ruckus, however, the neighbours too gathered around which compelled them to go back. As Rohit shares,
My parents thought it would be prudent to file an FIR about this incident and as they went to the local police station, these migrants returned again — most of them were drunk and armed with weapons. This time the mob was even larger and we had around 150 to 200 people attacking our home. They broke the lights, pelted stones, broke glasses, damaged the house, and soon were planning to burn the house down.
I along with my brother, aunt and bed ridden grandmother were trapped inside. They were shouting slogans such as “maro maro” (murder them). Thankfully, a police PCR arrived, but to our shock, the mob attacked the police and pelted stones at them too.
Later, more PCRs were called in and the situation could be brought under control. I myself along with my brother had to escape from our own house, which my parents have built with their hard work and dedication. Within few hours, we were labelled as some criminals.
I was literally crying seeing the damage but these people were hungry for blood. We spent the entire night outside, fearing for our lives. And guess what! Within next 24 hours, the girl safely returned to her parents and her version of story was just ludicrous.
The girl came back and claimed that she drank lemonade from the refrigerator and felt unconscious. According to her, she later woke up at a bus stand.
However, as per Rohit, the CCTVs in the vicinity clearly recorded the girl’s movements, which they learnt later. He says,
We have numerous clips of her going on a bike with 3-4 guys. The same has been captured in the CCTVs of the vicinity. This all was probably planned well in advance, by misusing discriminatory laws to extort money from an innocent and reputed family.
Rohit sums up how the entire experience was so horrifying for the family. He says,
It was only the next morning that we could return home, my mother was broken, she fell ill and was literary crying all day. Numerous relatives, well wishers and friends came from far away, taking leaves from work to visit and console us.
Although the police later arrested 10 of them (all were bailed out later by sympathisers, or I say people with politically vested interests), yet the mental torture and the emotional baggage of the event left us scarred. I mean we have been living in this city for more than 25-years and have been in this house for nearly 15-years. We are a well-educated family, doing our bit for the society by working hard, doing justice to our jobs and paying our taxes regularly. Yet, a section of people thriving on freebies and doles (so called helpless migrants) brought us down to our knees that night, threatened to kill us, damaged our house and reputation just by using the woman victim card.
About Pursuing Matter Further
Rohit is fully aware of the highly gender biased and discriminatory provisions that comes with our laws. According to him when the hired the girl, they were told she was about 19-20 years of age. However, when she went missing, they produced her document claiming she was minor. He states,
We wanted to pursue the matter further but people told us that as per the infamous POSCO Act, where any statement from the girl will be considered as valid without requiring further proof. I mean is this the kind of banana republic we live in?
Girls from well-to-do families to every other section in society are making this as a tool to blackmail and extort money from men and their families. Woman card is supreme when it comes to discriminatory laws for their own nefarious designs.
I just wish, we as a society, rise up and demand rightful justice for it’s aggrieved citizens!
- It is always advisable to take ID proofs and do some basic background checks before we hire anyone at our homes
- As a secondary step that is always preferred, do get a police verification done so that in case there is any such incident in the future, the police is fully aware of the whereabouts of such alleged fraudsters
- One can also have CCTVs at least at the main door and living rooms of the home, so that any activity of conflict can be traced
- How much ever we take precautions, when it comes to law, it cannot function on mere word of the woman
- The system must give a fair chance to both sides and investigate the matter without imposition of woman being the only victim