New Delhi, Aug 13: Umar Khalid, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader, escaped an attack unhurt near Parliament in Delhi on Monday. An unidentified man opened fire at him outside the Constitution Club of India and fled from the spot. The incident, which took place around 2.30 pm, comes two days before Independence Day when the city is on security alert.
Giving his version of what had happened, Khalid said he was going back inside the complex, which also houses the Mavlankar Auditorium and MP quarters on Rafi Marg, after having tea when somebody tried to fire at him. However, he did not see the face of the attacker.
“I was returning after having tea. One person came from behind, pushed me down and tried to fire at me. I ran for my life. He fled from there,” Khalid told reporters.
“I do not know whether it was handiwork of some group and if others accompanied the attacker. It’s ironic that it happened as I have come to participate in an even against mob lynching. There is an atmosphere of fear. If you speak against the government you will be branded and then anything could happen to you,” he said.
As per the eyewitnesses, the attacker who was wearing a white shirt dropped the weapon while fleeing from the spot. Some witnesses claimed two shots were fired when Khalid was at the entrance of the club, where he was going to attend a conference, ‘Khauff Se Azaadi’ (Freedom from Fear), organised by United Against Hate and featuring speakers such as lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Delhi University professor Apoorvanand and the late Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula.
Meanwhile, the police have seized the weapon and is investigating whether shots were fired or not. CCTV is being examined to verify the incident.
Umar Khalid had recently filed a complaint with the Delhi Police that he and Gujarat’s Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani had received death threats from a man who identified himself as fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari in June.
He hit the headlines in 2016 when he and former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar along with three others were charged with sedition for allegedly raising anti-national slogans during an event on campus to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.