Mangled remains of their homes and livelihoods were piled up along the road on Tuesday, as residents of a slum in Noida’s Sector 78 that was demolished on Monday tried to pick up the pieces.
On Monday, the Noida Authority had razed about 50 units, which included homes and shops, that stood opposite a housing society that saw violence last week over allegations that a domestic worker was held captive by employers there.
Domestic workers who lived in the nearby slums attacked guards at the Mahagun Moderne on July 12, leading to residents of the housing society complaining about lack of security.
The Noida Authority acted on the complaints and removed the encroachments that had been there for years.
After rain the night before, Tuesday’s scorching heat left the remaining slum residents with nowhere to hide.
‘They were Bengali’
“We had nothing to do with the violence. We are all from U.P. Those who threw stones were Bengali. Why would we attack the building’s residents when our livelihoods are dependent on them,” asked Rafeek, whose juice stall was among the units razed.
Kanti, a native of Aligarh who had lived in the slum for the past three years, said her vegetable shop had been completely demolished. “We lost thousands of rupees worth of materials. We had nowhere to go so we slept here in the rain,” she said.
Sahana, who said she had seen Mahagun Moderne built before her eyes, said she would not leave. “I have been here for seven years. No one has ever had a problem with us. We deliver vegetables to their homes and our sons clean their cars. People from elsewhere came and caused problems,” she said.
When asked about the whereabouts of those who had gone on a rampage last week, the slum residents all said that either they had left or had come from elsewhere.
In the aftermath of the violence last week, several reports that the mob was made up of Bangladeshi workers had emerged. While Mahagun Moderne residents had stopped the entry of “Bangladeshi maids” briefly, the residents of the demolished slum said the domestic workers were not being stopped anymore.
“They [Bangladeshi workers] have been allowed to work, but our livelihoods have been ruined. What was our fault,” asked Asim, a scrap dealer.