New Delhi: The father of Ankit Saxena, the 23-year-old photographer killed in Delhi by his Muslim girlfriend's family, says that the murder should not be given a communal twist and exploited to whip up trouble. Through a haze of grief at losing his only son, Yashpal Saxena pleaded for sanity.
"I don't want any inflammatory statements. I feel very saddened by what happened, but I don't want anyone to create a hostile environment against Muslims. I have nothing against any religion," Mr Saxena told NDTV.
"Yes, those who killed my son were Muslim...but every Muslim can't be branded for this. Don't use me to spread communal tension, don't drag me into it...I appeal to everyone not to link this to religion and vitiate the atmosphere."
Ankit was attacked and stabbed by his girlfriend's parents, uncle and 14-year-old brother on a road near his home in west Delhi on Thursday evening. In CCTV footage, he was seen talking on the phone just moments before he was attacked.
On a road full of people and cars during peak traffic, no one tried to stop the attackers.
"It is very sad...A person's throat is slit, that too with such planning and precision that a man dies within two-three seconds. There were thousands there, but not one person helped or tried to take him to a hospital," said Mr Saxena.
Ankit, he said, kept shouting to his girlfriend's mother: "Aunty, I have done nothing... I didn't take your daughter. Whatever you want to do, I am here." But seconds later, he was on the street, his throat slit.
Finally, it fell on a shattered father to carry his son's limp body to the hospital.
"I was in shock at the sight of my son's bloodied body. Crying, screaming, I somehow took him to hospital. I had a tiny hope that maybe he is alive and just unconscious, maybe by some miracles doctors can save him. But nothing like that," he said, breaking down.
Mr Saxena says he was never aware of Ankit's relationship, though he knew they were friends.
Ankit's 20-year-old girlfriend had stayed two doors away a few years ago. The family moved away but the two continued seeing each other, the police believe. The woman's family was strictly opposed to the relationship because Ankit was Hindu.
"Ankit told me, don't worry. If there is anything, I will tell you myself. You can arrange my marriage but I will be the one to choose. I felt reassured that everything was fine...I had no idea..."
Mr Saxena wants his son's killers to be hanged.