Mohammad Zubair had stepped out of his house on Monday, 24 February, with the best intention of buying sweets for his children.
He was on his way home when a mob wielding irons rods and wooden sticks beat him up mercilessly, reported The Indian Express, citing eyewitness accounts.
A photo of his brutal assault was clicked by a Reuters photographer and shared widely on Tuesday as violence spiralled out of control in northeast Delhi.
Zubair, who was admitted to the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, said the viral photo brought only painful memories.
“They beat me till they broke me. I begged them and they beat me some more, viciously. They made communally charged slurs and took (BJP leader) Kapil Mishra’s name. I don’t remember much. I just hoped my children were safe. I can’t bear to look at my photograph, my legs shiver with pain.”Mohammad Zubair
Fearing his family’s safety, Zubair has moved them to his village in Uttar Pradesh. When the clashes took place, his brother reportedly locked himself and the rest of Zubair’s family inside, shielding them from the violence.
“My wife and children are far away from all of this now. I am not a political person at all. I was just attending the local dua ki namaaz and returning home with sweets for my children. I thought it would make them happy. I don’t know when I will see them.”Mohammad Zubair
Zubair works as a labourer and earns around Rs 15,000 a month, reports The Indian Express.
As tension boiled in the national capital’s northeast region, many areas such as Chandbagh and Bhajanpura stood witness to arson, with rampant stone pelting and torching of shops.
Zubair's brother and family have not been able to meet him yet, fearing their own safety.
“File a complaint against who? A mob? We are small people… We have nothing to do with the protests. We have now been sucked into it. It is a fight for survival now.”Mohammad Zubair’s brother
The death toll from the clashes over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi has increased to 18, reported ANI on Wednesday, 26 February, quoting GTB Hospital officials who said four more people were brought dead in the morning.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)