The bullet has been retrieved from his back but Qasim, a differently abled vendor of household goods, recuperating in a hospital in Begusarai is a worried man. His family has borrowed and spent a sum of ₹250,000 on his treatment and is preparing to sell their village home to pay for post-procedure expenses.
Qasim was shot, he claims, for being a Muslim. The accused, Rajiv Yadav, has been arrested but the police claim that he shot Qasim, a father of three, following a quarrel over price of a detergent.
Qasim has a different version. He was asked what his name was. And when he informed Rajiv Yadav about his name, the latter declared that he ought to have been in Pakistan and shot him before walking away.
Rajiv Yadav apparently have several criminal cases against him but the police are clearly sympathetic and it is not clear what sections of the Indian Penal Code have been invoked against him in the FIR.
People from the accused’s village have apparently been visiting the hospital in Begusarai town and repeating that Qasim was shot after a quarrel. Rajiv Yadav himself is believed to have told the police that he opened fire in the heat of the moment.
But while Qasim and his family are not aware of the FIR lodged by the police and whether it includes their version, they are far more worried about the future.
Qasim has been repeating to visitors that he did not know Rajiv Yadav and had never met him before. He maintains that he was asked his name and was abused and shot when it became apparent that he was a Muslim. “ We live in Bharatvarsha and we are Bharatvasis,” his brother Javed was quoted as saying by The Telegraph, “ don’t we have the right to a secure life ?”