Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid was shot at by an unidentified miscreant during an event outside the Constitution Club on Monday. Khalid, who has previously filed complaints alleging threat to his life, escaped unhurt.
The incident, which happened just two days before Independence Day, has sent shockwaves amidst a section of the society.
The fact that Constitution Club is located near Parliament, which is under heavy security owing to the upcoming national event, has raised security concerns among the people.
“There was an event, Umar Khalid accompanied us. We were at a tea stall when a man in white shirt came, pushed and opened fire at him. Khalid lost his balance, fell down and bullet missed him,” ANI quoted an eyewitness as saying.
The eyewitness added that the man who shot at Khalid fired aerial shots to escape. The pistol, however, slipped off his hands as he fled.
The Delhi Police said that the alleged attack is being investigated.
“He (Khalid) said that he was attacked. Somebody pounced on him and pushed. Thereafter he tried to fire at Khalid. But the person immediately couldn’t fire. People started chasing him thereafter according to Khalid the attacker fired in the air,” DCP Madhur Verma told reporters adding that the incident is being verified.
Following the attack, Khalid reportedly accused the government of creating an atmosphere of fear.
“There is an atmosphere of fear in the country, and anybody who speaks against the government is threatened,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV.
JNU students and other activists condemned the attack on Khalid.
“Shocking and highly condemnable: a guy attacked Umar Khalid from behind and tried to shoot him in Delhi. This is the direct result of hatred whipped up by Republic TV & other hate media. I spoke to Umar. He’s okay, but we should be very very worried about his safety,” wrote Shehla Rashid on Twitter.
Shocking and highly condemnable: a guy attacked Umar Khalid from behind and tried to shoot him in Delhi. This is the direct result of hatred whipped up by Republic TV & other hate media. I spoke to Umar. He’s okay, but we should be very very worried about his safety.
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) August 13, 2018
“If this doesn’t chill your spine what will? If you choose silence now when will you speak? If this is not wrong, what is wrong? In Solidarity,” said comedian Kunal Kamra, whose show at MS University Baroda was recently cancelled after some former students complained that he was “anti-national”.
Activist and author Gurmehar Kaur said, “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.”
Khalid was attending an event titled ‘Khauff Se Azaadi’ organised by a group called ‘United Against Hate’.