BL Soni

It seems the dreaded novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was not enough, that cruelty has already started to float in the air.On Saturday, 49-year old Rakesh Coelho was assaulted by a lady member of his building. Coelho is the honorary secretary of Tarapore towers of Oshiwara. As a precautionary measure amidst the corona outbreak, the management committee of the society had decided to not allow any outsider into the building.

On Monday afternoon, outside the main entrance of the society he saw a maid standing. Seeing her, he went downstairs and asked her not to enter the building. The maid was reluctant to obey Coelho's advice and they had a brief argument.

In the middle of this, the employer of the maid intervened and physically assaulted Coelho as she forcibly tried to get her maid access into the building."As a precautionary measure and for the well being of the residents we decided to not allow anybody into the building. That is why I asked her not to enter the building" said Coelho."However her employer intervened and assaulted me physically. She threw my sunglasses and scratched my face causing an injury," he added.

Coelho lodged an FIR at the Oshiwara police station on Tuesday afternoon. Police had assured him of their support and intervention."After the coronavirus outbreak is under control, the police will intervene and investigate the matter," said an official of Oshiwara police station.

Meanwhile, many of the housing societies in the city are not giving paid leaves to the maids, despite there's a citywide lockdown.Maids are being asked to continue with work as usual. "I told my employer that there is a curfew and the police isn't allowing us to get out on the streets. I also told them that I can be exposed to the deadly virus. But still I am asked to come to work," said Seema (33) who works as a house help in Shivaji Park.

Similar was the case of Maya Jhanjhotad (50), who was stranded for at least two days in Chembur. "I live in Ulwe and was called to work on Saturday by my employer. I had to spend the night at their place as there was too much work," said Maya.

"Next day was the Janta Curfew and I had no means to go back home as by evening even the local trains were shut. I was compelled to stay at the house of an acquaintance and I started back home only on Monday," she added.According to Maya, she took help of a constable who dropped her till Seawoods, New Mumbai and from there her son picked her up on his bike. "Despite all this kind of a struggle to reach home, my employer asked me to come back to work on Tuesday saying that I can easily travel. I refused to come to work and they disconnected my call," Maya claims.(With inputs from Narsi Benwal)

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