Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh – As his auto-rickshaw pulled up at Pari Chowk, the monumental roundabout at the navel of Greater Noida, 24-year-old Imran Uba’s mind was on the scoop of chocolate he was planning to order at a nearby ice-cream parlour.
It had been that kind of a day, pleasantly aimless – a Monday without classes to attend or assignments to complete. The springtime afternoons were already hot enough to slow things down in the National Capital Region, which groups Delhi and its sprawling, skyscrapered satellites.
But Imran found Pari Chowk bristling with energy. A public march for a teenage boy who had died that weekend had become an angry protest of perhaps 500 people.
Imran, who comes from Kano in northern Nigeria and studies at Noida International University, neither speaks enough Hindi to have caught the gist of the protesters’ chants, nor reads it well enough to have clocked the slogans on their banners, so it didn’t occur to him that he might be at risk.
But he did notice a shiver of intensity shoot through the mob – because that was what the protesters had now become – and then, suddenly, that it was focused on him.
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