Attack on JNU student Umar Khalid evokes widespread condemnation

JNU student leader Umar Khalid escaped unhurt after an unidentified man allegedly shot at him in central Delhi on Monday

india Updated: Aug 13, 2018 21:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Umar Khalid,JNU student,Umar Khalid attack
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid speaks to the media moments after he was shot at, during an event at the Constitution Club in New Delhi on Monday, Aug 13, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The attack on JNU student leader Umar Khalid on Monday evoked widespread condemnation from various politicians, student leaders and activists, who termed it the fallout of a “hate campaign” against him by the Modi government and media.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) called the attack on its leader Umar Khalid on Monday as a “culmination of the hate-filled propaganda spewed by the Modi government” against all those who have questioned this regime.

“It is with grave concern that we wish to stand in complete solidarity with Umar Khalid. Today, an unidentified man opened fire on him. We see this cowardly act as a culmination of the hate-filled propaganda that this Modi government has spewed against Umar, JNU students and all those voices who have questioned this regime,” it said in a statement.

In the new India, mob lynching and attacks on common people have become the norm and cow vigilantes are being given impunity which has further aggravated these incidents, it said, demanding the Delhi police take “appropriate action” against those involved.

An unidentified man targeted Khalid outside the Constitution Club in the high security area near parliament and gunshots were heard, but he escaped unhurt, even as the police asserted it will verify the incident.

Many attributed the attack to the “hate campaign” against him on social media and mainstream media.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, said: “Wage a motivated hate campaign against individuals & sooner or later someone will feel emboldened enough to take the law into their own hands. The attack on @UmarKhalidJNU is the direct result of the relentless hate campaign using both social & mainstream media. Glad he’s well.”

Tagging the official Twitter handle of PMO India, Dalit leader and Independent MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani claimed that last month when Khalid, JNU student leader Shehla Rashid and he had received death threats from a gangster, they had sought police protection but “even till today, none of us have been given any kind of security”.

He also blamed the media groups, “who are working to help BJP achieve political gains” and term Kanhaiya Kumar, Khalid and Rashid as members of “tukde tukde gang” for the attack.

Delhi University student and author Gurmehar Kaur, who had been trolled online for raising her voice against campus violence and calling for peace with Pakistan, said she was not surprised at the incident.

“I want to say I’m shocked and surprised but I’m not. It was only time the online mob came out on the streets. And God forbid something happens tomorrow to someone the blood will be on our hands for not condemning the hatred enough.”

“Gauri Lankesh, Kalburgi, Shujaat Bhukhari and now an attack on @UmarKhalidJNU. History tells us that these are the warning signs before a perfectly normal, thriving nation turns into a battlefield. How are we still this ignorant and keep missing them?” she posted on Twitter.

Social activist Kavita Krishnan also blamed certain news channels for the “murderous violence” against Khalid, while ‏former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, tweeting in Hindi, said: “What could be a bigger evidence of jungle raj in the country that the copies of the Constitution are burnt and Umar Khalid is fired at, close to the Parliament. The confidence of criminals has increased under the current government and media.”

Actress and JNU alumnus Swara Bhasker also posted on Twitter, “What are we becoming?!???!? A lawless anarchic state of affairs.. so damaging to our institutions and credibility at a responsible State. Even if you don’t like umar’s views! #UmarKhalid.”

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 19:32 IST