Yashpal Saxena organised an iftaar gathering for 200 people to send out a message of love and peace.
“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,” Mr Saxena had said.
Four people were arrested after the young photographer was attacked and stabbed by his girlfriend’s parents, uncle and 14-year-old brother on a road near his home as they objected to their relationship. The charge-sheet has been filed and the hearing will take place in July.
Besides Ankit’s friends who helped Mr Saxena make all arrangements, Dr Kafeel Khan, who was charged with the death of infants at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur last year and recently walked out of jail, was among the attendees on Sunday. He was seen greeting the family and applauding Mr Saxena’s endeavours to promote peace.
By 7 pm several authors, activists and neighbours had gathered in the lane next to the Mr Saxena’s house. Fruits, biryani and soft drinks were served.
“I feel overwhelmed. I am grateful to all those who attended the event. A lot of people discouraged me, but I wanted to send out a message of solidarity and peace through this iftaar gathering. I lost my only son and this is for him,” Mr Saxena told NDTV.
Nasir Ahmed, one of the attendees, who wasn’t on the list of invitees, said, “I read about the iftaar on Facebook and decided to join in as it is a noble cause. There is no political motive behind it. This is all for humanity and I am happy to be part of it.”
The Saxenas and Ankit’s friends have also started a trust to help inter-faith couples get married.