HYDERABAD: While the fire and emergency services personnel were trying to douse the flames at Numaish, some people saw the chaos caused by fire as a perfect opportunity to loot the shops. In the guise of lending a helping hand in shifting products from stalls to safer places when fire was raging, some strangers looted stalls of Kashmir shawls, leather products, Rajasthani handicrafts, suits made of expensive material, all worth several lakhs of rupees.
Traders from other states were shocked at the theft of LED bulbs by miscreants. “Who would do that?” wondered a trader pointing at empty bulb holder.When people were running for their lives, some crestfallen traders from Kashmir, Rajasthan and other states stood shell-shocked with their products being looted away. They were at loss to know who was genuinely helping them and those who had other intentions.
“My shop did not catch fire, but yet, I lost more than `8 lakh worth goods in the loot. It was happening before my eyes. I was forced to remain helpless as volunteers cordoned off the lane leading to my stall,” said Pradeep, from Rajasthan who was sitting in his near empty handicraft stall hoping government officials will help him.The merchants, whose goods have been looted, shattered their belief in people and huge loans staring at their faces.
“It was chaos during the fire. In that situation, when someone lends a helping hand, you would not refuse. But some people took undue advantage of the situation and looted products from my stall,” said a merchant from Kashmir. Irshad, a trader from Kashmir, said that he slung a bag with `20,000 cash around his neck which was snatched away.