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Scorched city counts its scars

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The Times Of India
25th August, 2019 12:21 IST

PANCHKULA: Two years after the Dera violence of August 25, 2017, the scorched city has a lot of mental scars but little justice.

When the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda took over the city and broke into riot, arson, and vandalism at the rape conviction of their head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh , the administration's response was so stunned that citizens had gone to the extent of asking for President's rule for their safety. Citizen welfare association president S K Nayar said: "I don't think we can ever overcome the fear that gripped the entire city that day. Six days later, we went to the Prime Minister and the President to get the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) involved. People had no faith left in police. The demand lies in cold storage, its status "under process" for the past one year."

Gagan Kumar, 38, who saw the mob torch his tea stall in the parking lot of Sector 5, said: "They turned my only source of livelihood into ashes. I set up the business on borrowed money from relatives. I remained at home and in depression for more than five months after the incident. The images of August 25 still haunt me."

The traders and residents of sectors 2 and 4, epicentre of the dera protest, were worst hit. The mob flipped into rage soon after the CBI special court of Haryana convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape. Residents could not believe their eyes when their streets became a bloody battle zone. Watching the arsonists being shot in their porches and front yards, people locked themselves down in their houses.

Sector-4 trader and resident Mughda Makkar said: "More than 10 people knocked at my door, saying they needed to hide from cops. I denied them shelter and shut the gate. That ticked them off they all tried to break my front door. Luckily, the troops managed to stop them. My family sunk into shock."

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