As Jat protesters relented following assurance of reservation from the Haryana government, people in Rohtak whose shops were either gutted or looted by the protesters in the last two days could be seen assessing their losses. At Model Town market, Somnath was seen surveying the charred remains of his shop that he has had for the past 35 years.
“Seven-eight members of my family, including nephews, had been working here. Savings of my entire life are gutted. We used to sell fruits and juices from here. Next to my shop was a departmental store, a hospital and an MRI centre. Everything has been destroyed,” he said. .
Till early this morning, groups of shopkeepers stood guard outside their shops to prevent further vandalism. Some had put up brick walls in front of the shutters of their shops.
Rambir, who owns a hotel in Ashoka market, said different markets have suffered losses of crores of rupees. From shops housing McDonalds food joint and BlackBerry phones that were burnt to malls and hotels, there is destruction everywhere.
“Rohtak was known to be one of the most prosperous towns in Haryana. It has been pushed back by 10 years. It will take months to rebuild the shops and even more to rebuild the morale of the people,” he said. Another hotel of his was partially damaged in the rampage.
This was a general refrain of the city residents that the city had never witnessed such large-scale destruction. The problem was aggravated due to the absence of security forces.
Broken hoardings and charred remains of articles could be seen at different places. Some men, who were trying to steal some goods away, were caught by the shopkeepers and thrashed. Smoke could be seen coming out of several shops even today.
Absence of fire tenders was another grouse of the shopkeepers who want the government to announce some compensation at the earliest.