After the attack last year, Aslam had taken him to his house in Inderlok in Delhi to help him recuperate. Now, Zubair is back at his own Chand Bagh residence in North East Delhi with barely a steady source of income. “I cannot bend my knee. I cannot hold much weight with my hands,” he says, explaining his lack of employment. He was into selling air coolers in summer.
Most would recall seeing a photograph of Zubair last year in which he is seen crouching on all fours as nearly a dozen men rain blows on him. The Reuters photograph showed men hitting Zubair with cricket stumps, hockey sticks and iron rods even as he lay on the ground bleeding from his head and hands. The mob, raising slogans of Jai Sri Ram, hit him till he fell unconscious near Bhajanpura, not far from his residence. The mob, taking him for dead, dumped him across the road.
His life was saved when some passerby heard him groaning in agony and rushed him to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. The doctors managed to save his life; Zubair, though, needs more than a helping hand to recover fully and earn a dignified living for his young family. A year after he was the victim of an unprovoked attack, he is still to come to terms with the reality. “I had hurt nobody. I was coming back from ijtema (religious gathering). They [the men who attacked] did not know me. They hit me because of my identity.” On the fateful day, Zubair wore a salwar-kameez and a skull cap, apparel that proved a red rag to the rampaging mob.