Physical mutilation was the price daily-wage worker Ram Sagar Chandravanshi, 20, had to pay for not being able to clear a debt of Rs 300. His creditors chopped off his hands and left him in an unconscious state.
The crime took place about 10 days ago in a village of Arwal district, barely 80 km southwest of Patna.
Now he is lying on the floor of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), with his wife, whom he married a month ago, next to him.
His ordeal did not end with the maiming. When his family went to lodge an FIR at the Kinjar police station in Arwal, the police did not entertain it initially.
A couple of days later, the FIR was registered, but there has been no action so far.
Chandravanshi said: "Some people took me to Kodra village and asked me to work for a couple of contractors in lieu of Rs 300, which I owed them, but I refused. Instead, I assured them I would repay the amount soon."
"They (then) started hitting my hand with an axe, saying I should pay up or face the consequences. I fell unconscious. I don't know what happened after that and who took me to hospital."
When contacted, Arwal superintendent of police Bimal Kumar told HT the matter was "concocted".
"He apparently lost his hands near Danapur after meeting with an accident on the railway tracks. Why are you people after this story? We are looking into the matter," he said before disconnecting the phone.
However, Magadh range deputy inspector general NH Khan did not dismiss the matter out of hand.
"I will ask the SP to send somebody to record the statement of the youth."