Angry villagers threw stones and broke into a housing society in Noida near Delhi this morning alleging that a young woman employed as domestic help in one of the apartments was held captive overnight and beaten up by her employers because they suspected her of stealing money.

The husband of the 26-year-old woman, Zohra Bibi, has filed a First Information Report or FIR with the Noida police against the employers, a couple who live in the apartment with their seven-year-old daughter. Her family said she did not return home all day yesterday and in the night; this morning they arrived with other villagers at the housing society Mahagun Moderne in Sector 78 of Noida.

t is not clear where the woman, who was taken to hospital this morning, was in the night. "We waited all night outside the society for her. We went to the apartment but they said she wasn't there. We even took the police. This morning we saw her come out of the society, " a relative of the women said. 

The employers have alleged in a statement that the domestic help, who works in several other apartments in the complex too, stole 10,000 rupees and admitted that she had taken the money. They alleged that when they threatened to inform the housing society's office she ran away, leaving behind her mobile phone. 

Other residents of the complex have told the police that Zohra was not held captive but had in fact spent the night at the apartment of an elderly woman where she works too. 

In the morning, the villagers attacked the society. "They entered in my house by breaking the door glass. It was terrifying. It's about our life and I am afraid about the safety of my family and kid," Mitul Sethi, who runs a play school in the area, said in the statement. Her husband Harshu runs a real estate business.

More than 200 people, many of who also work as domestic help in housing complexes near their village, engaged in a scuffle with security guards who attempted to keep them out. Carrying stones and sticks, they broke open the society gate and attacked the facility office, witnesses said. 

The Sethis were escorted out of the housing complex by security guards and have been moved to an undisclosed location with permission from the police.

The protests ended after police pacified the crowd and appealed for peace.


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