Months after Ankit Saxena's murder, family hosts Iftar for harmony
Four months ago, Ankit Saxena's family in Raghubir Nagar, Delhi, saw their 23-year-old son brutally murdered. His crime? Falling in love with a Muslim woman. But Yashpal, his father, insists they only want peace now. With this in mind, with some help from their friends and neighbors, they hosted an Iftar party at their place yesterday. Hundreds attended, including Gorakhpur hero Dr Kafeel Khan.
Ankit's girlfriend's family had been hatching a plan to kill him since long, one they put into action on February 1. When he arrived home that night, they confronted him and launched an attack on him right near his house. His mother rushed to help, but she was assaulted too. When he tried rescuing her, they held him and slit his throat with a knife.
The traumatized mother isn't doing very well, but Yashpal wanted to do something to promote communal peace. The idea was suggested to him by his neighbor Mohammad Izhar Alam, Yashpal said. "I really liked the idea but I didn't know how to do it, so he said he would arrange everything." Ankit's friends and neighbors pitched in too. Glasses of Rooh Afza flowed freely.
Ankit's face peered down from photos all around them: in one, he was wearing a skull cap, and a turban in another. In attendance were activists Harsh Mander and Anjali Bhardwaj, NGO members, and some cops who recorded the event. Yashpal says he wants Ankit's murderers to be hanged, "but I won't hate everyone from their community just because they belonged to it."
Many neighbors didn't attend, but one said it wasn't because of ill-will. "Many of us aren't around in the evening." Ankit's mother and father are both physically unwell, but the family is facing financial struggles. Despite assurances from the government, no help has reached them yet, friends say. However, Yashpal says he's past all that. "I just want to ensure that Ankit's legacy is one of love."