Will continue to raise questions, says Umar Khalid

The gun which was used to shoot Umar Khalid in the Capital .

The gun which was used to shoot Umar Khalid in the Capital .   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Speaks to media soon after the attack; slams propaganda campaign and branding anybody anti-national

Speaking to the media immediately after he was attacked by an unidentified man, wielding a gun, JNU student Umar Khalid said that over the past two years, a hateful, disinformation, propaganda campaign was being spread by certain media houses and troll armies of the ruling party to brand anybody opposed to them as anti-national.

“Once branded, anything can be done to them. I was very scared at that moment when the man was pointing the gun at me. In that moment, I was reminded of what happened to Gauri Lankesh and I thought that moment had arrived for me,” said Mr. Khalid. He however, said that he would continue to raise questions as we need to have freedom from fear.

The event — United Against Hate — Mr. Khalid was attending had invited speakers ranging from Members of Parliament, journalists, lawyers, professors to members of families that had been affected by violence that stems from hatred.

One of the organisers of the event, Nadeem Khan said, “We are here to debate and discuss how we can move towards freedom without fear and ironically someone who has nothing to add to the debate shows up with a gun outside the venue to spread fear.”

Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, one of the speakers at the event, said that threatening someone who stands up for what is wrong or has a view contrary to that of the government in power shows the rise of fascism in the country.

A cowardly act: JNUSU

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union called the attack on a “cowardly act” that was a “culmination of the hate-filled propaganda that the Modi government had spewed against him and other JNU students who have raised questions against the regime.

JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said, “JNUSU expresses shock and concern on the cowardly attack on Umar outside the Constitution Club and strongly condemns it. We wish to stand in complete solidarity with Umar.”

“From the JNUSU we would like to make it clear that no voice can be curbed and the students movement will continue to produce fearless voices,” the union said in a statement. The JNU teachers’ association said that it was unbearable to see JNU students being rendered so vulnerable. “We would like to express deep anguish at the way JNU as a community has been vilified through an organised political campaign. Violence against JNU students especially from marginalised backgrounds is being normalised and routinised every day,” said JNUTA president Sonajharia Minz.

Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid who is in Srinagar also said that she had received a threat message from a person who identified himself as “Mafia Don Ravi Poojary”. The text message from a foreign number said, “Just shut your mouth or we will shut your mouth forever. Tell Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mewani also.” Ms. Rashid has filed a complaint with the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Todays attack on Umar Khalid by hate mongers days before Independence day is a mockery of our democracy. Certain sections of the media too played a sinister role in whipping up a public frenzy by projecting him as anti national. We have always taken great pride in being the worlds largest democracy. Do we really want to be reduced to a mobocracy where is no regard for rule of law [sic].”

Sitaram Yetchury of the CPI(M) also tweeted saying, “Two days before Independence Day, in the capital — next to Parliament, an assassination attempt with a gun. What kind of anarchy is being unleashed? Who has created this climate of hate? Accountability, anyone? [sic]”.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 3:52:40 AM |

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