NAHARLAGUN, Mar 2: Nearly 300 employees of Sohum Shoppe here have been affected by the attack on the shopping complex on 23 February, during the anti-PRC agitation.
About 210 of them were Arunachalee employees.
Speaking to reporters, an employee said they had pleaded with the protestors not to set fire to the building lest it should spread to the tightly-packed residential colony nearby.
“We tried to stop many people but no one listened to us. Nothing is left now, and restoring Sohum will take a lot of time. There are so many employees who are dependent on the shopping complex. Our households were running on our employment here, but we are all unemployed now,” one of the employees told reporters on Saturday.
They said the protestors damaged the building, and that most of the looters, including women, were from nearby areas.
“We have not been able to sleep. They looted in the day and came back again later at night to take more items. Some of our men were stationed inside the store to keep guard, and they caught more boys trying to loot the shop. The boys were let go after some parents came and assured that it would not be repeated. Around 3 am, we saw that almost everything was gone from the store,” another employee said.
She appealed to the government to compensate the store owner, so that he can reopen the store and provide them employment.
“Some of us were being paid about Rs 5000 to Rs 6000 per month, but we were happy. Now they’ve snatched even that away from us. It looks like it will take a month or two to fix the place. However, we are still on duty and looking after the building. The owner has assured us that the staff will be paid for continuing with their duties,” she added.
The proprietor of the Adidas and Reebok showroom also informed that his stores were attacked after the attack on Takar Complex on 24 February.
Reportedly, the agitators forced open the shutters and burnt everything in the two floors of the Adidas showroom after looting it. The Reebok showroom adjacent to it was then broken in, damaged, and looted.
The proprietor also informed that only the stocks in the showrooms were insured but the furniture and electric wiring were not.
“The stockroom items are also damaged. Only a few items could be salvaged from the fire. The store is only a year old.
A Samsung mobile phones store close to the Reebok showroom was also looted,” he said.
While the owner of the mobile phones shop was not available, a nearby shopkeeper said “the looters took everything. Only a pen was found in the entire shop.”
Welley Complex, located nearby, sustained some damages to the window displays but was not looted or set on fire.
The proprietors of both Sohum Shoppe and the Adidas and Reebok showrooms have filed FIRs in connection with the damages. They said they are trying to retrieve the hard drive of the CCTV and submit it to the police for further investigation.