23-year-old Sahil died after he was beaten by at least two men over the right to passage in north-east Delhi.
Days after 23-year-old Sahil, a first-year college student, lost his life after being beaten in north Delhi’s Jafrabad, reportedly because of a dispute over right of passage, his family has claimed that he was killed as the accused mistook him “to be a Muslim”.
The police, however, say the incident is not communal, and have arrested two on the charge of murder.
On the one hand, Sahil’s mother, Sangeeta, said that he had gone to help his friend’s brother, who had reportedly got into a scuffle with someone named Sanjay Chandrabhan and his minor son, in the wee hours of Friday, 31 August.
Sangeeta claims that Sahil had pleaded with Chandrabhan to let his friend’s brother go and promised to not to use their lane. However, his pleas had fallen in deaf ears and he was mercilessly thrashed.
On the other hand, Sahil’s father, Sunil Singh, said that his son, along with his friends, was returning from a birthday party when they were stopped by Chandrabhan and his son.
Singh said Chandrabhan was drunk and had asked the boys why they were “passing through a lane inhabited by Pandits.” He further claimed that the attackers snatched the keys of Sahil’s bike.
‘They Thought He Was Muslim’
Sahil’s parents both claim that he was brutally beaten as his attackers thought him to be Muslim.
“After Chandrabhan took away the keys, Sahil’s friend took his name, while asking him to come back the next day. Hearing his name, the attackers thought he was Muslim and beat him mercilessly. Sahil was also wearing a locket that he had got from the Ajmer Dargah.”
When asked about the communal angle, Singh said the “entire lane is saying that a Muslim has been killed.” He stated that he is sure the attackers of the ‘panditon waali gali’ had beaten Sahil because they had mistaken him to be Muslim.
Mother Regrets Naming Son ‘Sahil’
After the ordeal, Sahil had walked up to his family’s third-floor residence and narrated the incident to his parents. “He said that he was not at fault and was only trying to solve a dispute,” said Sangeeta, recalling Sahil’s final moments.
He fell unconscious on her lap and, upon being taken to the hospital, was declared “brought dead”.
“I didn’t realise that he had passed away in my lap. I wouldn’t have named him Sahil had I known that it would turn out to be the cause of his death,” she said, her voice cracking.
‘No Communal Angle’: Delhi Police
However, AK Thakur, DCP (North-East) told The Quint that the argument had broken out over the use of a lane and no communal angle can be discerned thus far.
“They were passing through the area and had an argument on the spot over using the lane, following which he was killed. So far, we have no evidence that could indicate the incident was communal.”
Sources in the Delhi Police also told The Quint that Sahil had gone to resolve a dispute which had erupted between his friends and Chandrabhan, who was inebriated.
“Sahil’s friends were passing through the lane and had brushed past Chandrabhan. When Sahil went to the spot, he was attacked and his friends fled the spot,” sources said.
So far, the police have arrested Chandrabhan and a minor in connection with the incident and charged them under Section 302 (Murder).
Sahil’s cause of death is yet to be ascertained and his autopsy reports are awaited.