“My brother was shot by police in the neck. He was returning home after hearing news of riots. He was not part of the mob,” said Mukhtar Shah, elder brother of Yunus Shah, a victim of Sunday’s communal violence in Dhule in Maharashtra. Yunus, 22, who was brought to KEM Hospital here on Monday evening on advice by doctors in Dhule, died on Wednesday morning. With this, the death toll has risen to six.  

Mukhtar told The Hindu that Yunus was “paralysed below the neck after he was shot in the neck. But he could speak and he told me that he was injured in police firing.”  

A daily wage labourer and fourth among seven siblings, Yunus “had gone for work in the Paanch Kandil area, one km away from the spot where riot took place. When he heard news of the riots, he decided to go home quickly to avoid any trouble. But he chose the route where the riot was happening. He was shot from the front and the bullet pierced through his neck,” said Abdul Rahim, Yunus’s uncle. The police, instead of using water cannon, teargas or rubber bullets, shot the rioters, he said. “A friend, who was with Yunus, was also injured and admitted to hospital in Dhule. From what he has told us, police fired at people above the waist, as if they wanted to kill all,” said Rahim.   

According to Mukhtar, Yunus told him that when he reached the rioting spot, the police had started firing. “I have told the police everything in a statement. I have made sure that they wrote the words ‘in police firing’ and not just ‘firing’,” said Mukhtar.