Fresh reports are coming in which suggest that Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid was shot at by an unidentified man outside the Constitution Club on Delhi's Rafi Marg on Monday. Khalid, however luckily escaped unhurt.
The student leader, who came to limelight in February 2016 after being charged with sedition for organising an event related to Afzal Guru, had gone to the club to attend an event titled "Khauff se Azaadi" which was being organised by an organisation called United Against Hate.
"There was an event and Umar Khalid had accompanied us. We were at a tea stall when a man in a white shirt came, pushed and opened fire at him. Khalid lost his balance and fell down and the bullet missed him. We tried to catch the man. The pistol slipped off his hands and he escaped, " News agency ANI quoted an eyewitness of the incident as saying.
After managing an escape, Khalid said that the country was reeling under an atmosphere of fear and anybody who wishes to speak against the government was being threatened.
"A man attacked from behind while Umar Khalid and his associates were having tea at a stall, Khalid fell down. He is safe. We are investigating further," India Today quoted Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police, Ajay Chaudhary as saying.
The Delhi Police later denied the claims of firing. "There was no incident of firing at Constitution Club where activist Umar Khalid was. Two suspects with pistols were seen in the vicinity and have been apprehended," a police official told India Today.
Umar Khalid, along with student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya, was charged with sedition and arrested after an event relating to 2001 Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru was organised at the JNU Campus.
Since then, Khalid and Kumar have been pretty vocal about the various hate crimes that have been happening in the country under the BJP-led government's rule. Khalid has been invited to a lot of events and student protests in the national capital after he shot to fame following his arrest in the sedition case.
Reacting to the incident, Student leader Shehla Rahid took to her twitter account and 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," she tweeted.
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
Stand up comic Kunal Kamra, known for questioning the government in his acts also condemned the incident on twitter. "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," he tweeted.
Advocate and activist Prashant Bhushan questioned the police asking why were they unable to catch the culprit in such a high security area. "A man shot at Umar Khalid of JNU at the Const Club (where he organised a program against hate & fear) & ran away after throwing his pistol. Police can't nab him in this High security zone! BJP MP Lekhi calls it drama but can't get police to arrest culprit," Bhushan tweeted.
A man shot at Umar Khalid of JNU at the Const Club (where he organised a program against hate & fear) & ran away after throwing his pistol. Police can't nab him in this High security zone! BJP MP Lekhi calls it drama but can't get police to arrest culprit! https://t.co/axgh0Zvq8J— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) August 13, 2018
Lawyer and activist Indira Jaisingh also condemned the attack on Khalid. "Umar Khalid is safe, very close to being shot, now at the Parliament Street Police Station with DCP police recording his statement , in solidarity @UmarKhalidJNU #Khauffe se Azadi @rajnathsingh," she tweeted.