HAPUR, Uttar Pradesh — The last time that Naseem spoke to her husband, Qasim, they talked about household matters like the daily expenses, rent, and food for their children. By the end of the conversation, the small built woman, with a solemn face and wide eyes, had managed to extract 100 rupees for the day's shopping.
When Naseem saw her husband again, eight hours later on June 18, it was in a video that has since traveled from the hinterlands of Hapur in western Uttar Pradesh to the rest of the country.
The one-minute footage captures Qasim's horrific end at the hands of a mob of Hindu villagers, who accused him of trying to slaughter a cow in the fields between the Muslim-majority village of Madurpur and the Thakur-majority village of Bhajera Khurd.
Naseem saw her husband, lying in a field after he was beaten, bruised and bloodied, half-naked, and writhing in pain. The mob surrounding the dying man refused him water.
"My world came to an end. I watched him die. I have watched him die over and over again," she said.
The 35-year-old woman said, "I did not believe that some unknown men had beaten my husband to death. We have no enemies. I did not understand it. It was not until I saw the video that I believed it."
Naseem, however, would have no respite from the horror.
A day later, Naseem saw the photo that was going viral in the Muslim neighbourhood of Saddikpura in the town of Pilkhuwa, where she had lived as a child and then as a married woman: Qasim with his face to the ground, his arms and legs spreadeagled, being dragged through a field by a mob, in the presence of three policemen.
"I don't know what to say. How would you feel if this happened to your loved ones," she asked. "People say the video and photo has gone everywhere. Is the country watching? I want to ask everyone how they would feel?"
My world came to an end. I watched him die. I have watched him die over and over again.
Qasim was from the Qureshi community, traditional cattle...