The scars remain: Khalil Mattumal suffered multiple stab wounds as he tried to protect Sharief, who was attacked by a group of men with knives and swords. Image Credit: Mazhar Farooqui/XPRESS

Sharjah: The survivor of a horrendous attack that left one dead and four injured in Sharjah’s bustling Al Ghuwair Market in Rolla said his knife wounds will heal but the scars will constantly remind him how men can turn into savage beasts – for something as trivial as a dispute over a Dh45 hair trimmer.

“Even the most absurd movie plot will not have 15-20 men fighting with swords and knives over a trimmer,” said Khalil Mattumal, smiling wryly through the pain.

The 33-year-old Indian suffered multiple stab wounds when he tried to save a relative from the wrath of the armed men last Saturday night. It was a futile attempt. His relative Mohammad Sharief 33,  succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.       

“I could have been dead too,”  said Mattumal as he recalled the terrifying moment when his assailants pinned him down to the ground and thrust a knife into his chest. “There were two of them. One of them was burly. There was a crazed frenzy in his eyes as he slashed me with a  knife. As I lay bleeding heavily, I thought of my daughter. I thought I would never see her again.”     

Mattumal’s elder brother Nooruddin, 40, rushed to their aid with a friend, Hisan, from a neighbouring shop but they were outnumbered.   

“They were so many of them and they were armed with stick, swords and knives. We didn’t stand a chance,” said Nooruddin, who got stabbed in the stomach and was rushed to Kuwait Hospital. He was discharged on Monday afternoon. “I have been living in Sharjah for almost two decades. I have never seen anything more frightening.”  

Mattumal said both he and the deceased hail from Kasargod, Kerala. “Sharief has left behind two small children. Now they will grow up without him in the knowledge that their father  was killed over something so petty. My wounds will heal but the stitch marks will always remind me of how  men turn into animals when they lose sanity,” said Mattumal.

According to him, Sharief got into an argument with a Pakistani customer who wanted to return a hair trimmer he bought from a clearance sale on Friday evening at Sharief’s electronic shop.

What started off as a minor dispute snowballed into a major fight the following night when the customer returned with several of his friends and stormed Sharief’s shop around 10.30pm.

On Sunday, the Al Ghuwair market remained closed as a mark of respect for Sharief who had run his shop there for the past 15 years. Sharjah Police have  rounded  20 Pakistani men in connection with the crime.