Even as a steady stream of leaders from local political outfits, district officials and media persons make their way to the modest house that has become the cynosure at Krishnapura on Sunday, for the family of Kabeer, who was shot reportedly by security personnel at Sringeri on Saturday morning, the feeling of shock in the family is slowly making way to anger.
In the intervening hours of Saturday and Sunday, the 22-year-old daily-wage worker – who had taken on an assignment to transport cattle from Sringeri to the city – was laid to rest at the Edgah Maidan at Jokatte, with nearly 10,000 people from Chokabettu, Krishnapura, Katipalla and Jokatte paying their respects.
Unable to speak for long, and reddish-eyes that seemingly remain clouded over by tears, 64-year-old Idinnabba, Kabeer’s father, said: “Just before he had left, I told him not to go on night duties. He said he had to because of our financial situation.”
Repeating that Kabeer “had no bad habits”, Idinnabba said his youngest son took it upon himself to provide for the family. “He took multiple shifts so that he could buy medicines for me (he is asthmatic) and my wife. He was also very worried about his elder sister’s wedding, and had started saving for that,” he said.‘Not mistaken identity’
Family and friends who had brought the body said two bullets – one through the upper arm, and the other through the back – had pierced Kabeer, which indicated “murder” and “not mistaken identity”.
Mohammad Ismail, Kabeer’s brother in law, said if the police wanted to apprehend Kabeer, they would have fired warning shots or, at the worst, at the feet. “The bullet holes showed they wanted to kill him,” he said, adding that Kabeer’s two mobile phones and Rs. 1,000 from his wallet were missing when they had arrived at the station.
Adding to the suspicion is the attack on them even as they went to bring the body back home. “Around 25 people surrounded the car and threatened to kill us. Up ahead, another 100 of them were shouting ‘Bajrang Dal ki Jai’. The four police personnel there did little to stop them,” said B.C. Shiekinji, Jokatte Gram Panchayat member and close friend of the family.