KANPUR: "A traitor cannot be my son, straight and simple," said Sartaj about Saifullah, a suspected ISIS terrorist who was killed in an encounter with the Uttar Pradesh police today.
Feeling ashamed of his son's activities, Sartaj refused to take Saifullah's body, saying, "A traitor cannot be related to me, let alone be my son."
He said he would have handed over his son to the police if he had even "an iota of inkling" about his activities.
Saifullah, suspected to be self-proclaimed ISIS activist, was killed in Lucknow this morning in an exchange of fire with the police after a 12-hour stand-off. He was allegedly linked to the blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain train yesterday, police said.
"My child has done a wrong thing and I have regrets for it...I would have handed him over to the police had I even an iota of inkling about it...The entire world would have seen and noticed how a father could put his own son in police hands," Sartaj told reporters.
"There is no need to hide a disease, else it becomes an incurable wound," Sartaj told reporters.
"We are Indian citizens. I was born here, my ancestors were born here," he said, adding, "Almost everyone in the family is sad. But it is more shame than sadness for what he has done."
He said even his neighbours are wondering as to how this could have happened to a son belonging to a decent family.
On his decision not to take the body, he said he was not concerned about what relatives would say.
Sartaj said he had heard this morning about the death of his son in the encounter.
He said Saifullah had left home about two-and-a-half months back after he beat him up for not finding work and not listening to him. Since then, he was not aware of his son's whereabouts, he said.
"On Monday, I got a call from Saifullah, who told me that he had got a visa to visit Saudi (Arabia) and he was preparing to go there. I told him go ahead," the father said.
When asked whether he had any regret for not taking proper care of his son, Sartaj said he feels he could have kept a better watch and saved him from all this.
Sartaj said after Saifullah left home, he was concerned but felt that he will return on his own as he was angry with him.
On Saifullah's mother, who is not alive, Sartaj said she would have been really pained. "It seems that she is not alive to see this bad day...If she had stopped him from moving out of the house he would not have left," he added.
On police seeking mediation of his other son Khalid to make Saifullah surrender, Sartaj said he has been told about it and that the conversation lasted for one hour but the voice on the other side was not clear.
Confirming that Sartaj had refused to take the body, Superintendent of Police (Kanpur City) Somen Verma said the police may again make an attempt to convince the family about it.
Meanwhile, the father of two other men, who have been arrested on terror-related charges, has claimed that they were innocent and has sought a fair probe.