Ankit Saxena murder: Other inter-faith couples happily married in the Delhi locality | Hindustan Times
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Ankit Saxena murder: Other inter-faith couples happily married in the Delhi locality

In the Delhi locality where 23-year-old photographer Ankit Saxena was murdered allegedly over his relationship with a Muslim woman, there were enough examples of successful inter-faith marriages

delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2018 13:13 IST
Shiv Sunny
Farha Sheikh has been married to Vikas since 2009. They live in the building opposite to Shehzadi’s house.
Farha Sheikh has been married to Vikas since 2009. They live in the building opposite to Shehzadi’s house. (HT Photo)

If an inter-faith marriage worried Shehzadi’s family, they did not have to go too far to find successful examples. There were two inter-faith couples living in close proximity to their house in west Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar — one in their own society and another opposite their building. However, Shehzadi’s parents reportedly chose to taunt one of these couples instead.

Both examples were those of Hindu men marrying Muslim women. The two couples said they faced their own share of initial troubles from their families, but are leading normal lives today and have become parents.

One of those men, Jatin Gaba, who married Nigar Fatima in 2010, is a wedding photographer as well, the same profession as Shehzadi’s alleged boyfriend Ankit Saxena. Shehzadi’s parents were arrested last week for allegedly murdering Saxena as they disapproved of their relationship. The two had allegedly been dating for the last three years.

“When my son eloped, the girl’s relatives had landed at my home with iron rods and hockey sticks (to beat him). The couple went into hiding for six months, but they are leading a happy life today. The two sets of parents never meet, but my daughter-in-law regularly visits me and her parents meet my son,” said Gaba’s mother, Poonam Rani.

Rani said she would have reached out to Shehzadi’s parents if she had any idea that she was in a relationship with a Hindu man. “I would have told them that there is nothing wrong in such relationships. Every family opposes these relationships at the beginning. Even I had thrown away my son’s photos after his marriage, but now I have accepted them,” said Rani.

Farha Sheikh, a Muslim woman who lives in the building opposite to Shehzadi’s house, married disk jockey Vikas in 2009. Sheikh recounted that Shehzadi’s mother would taunt her for marrying outside her religion.

“Whenever Shehzadi’s parents would see me, they would say that I had wronged (my family) by marrying a Hindu. They would scold me for following my husband’s religious practices and would ask me to keep to my own religion. One day, I finally responded by saying that it was my life and I would do as I pleased. They never spoke to me after that,” said Sheikh.

Orphaned early in her life, Sheikh said though she had some initial hiccups after marriage, but all was well within a month. “We celebrate festivals of both religions. We have a temple and Islamic pictures at our home. Shehzadi’s parents should have seen the love in my family, but all they could see was an inter-faith marriage,” said Sheikh.

Meanwhile, Saxena’s parents have been reaching out to politicians and media not to communalise the incident ever since their son’s murder. “Three years ago, Shehzadi’s parents suspected another youth, Azhar, of eyeing her and thrashed him at his home,” said Saxena’s mother, Kamlesh. She insisted that religion had little to do with their son’s killing.

On Sunday, two days after the alleged murder, several police and BSF men continued to be deployed in Raghubir Nagar to thwart any attempt to ignite communal passions after the killing. Saxena’s father visited Haridwar on Sunday to immerse his ashes in the Ganga, while his mother remained hospitalised for injuries she had suffered during the attack on her son.