Home English ‘The real culprits are the ruling party spokespersons, TV channels’, says Umar...
JNU student and activist Umar Khalid said on Tuesday that “having seen the assassinations of one activist after the other in the last few years” in the country, he knew that “someday a gun may be turned” against him too.
In a statement released the day after he was attacked outside the Constitution Club in the heart of the capital by a man carrying a gun, he said “two days before 15th August, the question also is what does ‘freedom’ even mean if the citizens of this country have to be ready to die for their ‘crime’ of just being vocal against injustice?”.
He added that what was most paradoxical was that he had gone to attend an event named “Freedom from Fear” when an unidentified gunman attacked him.
“The fact that two days before Independence Day, in one of the most high security zones of the national capital, an armed assailant could dare to attack me in broad daylight only goes onto show the brazen impunity that some people feel they enjoy under the present regime,” said Mr. Khalid.
In a tweet targeted at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Khalid said he had a suggestion for the PM’s Independence Day speech. “Can you guarantee that there will be no attack on those who criticise your government and its many failures?” asked Mr. Khalid.
Mr. Khalid said the real culprit for the attack on him was not the unidentified gunman but those who, from their seats of power, have been breeding an atmosphere of hatred, bloodlust and fear.
“The real culprits are those who have provided an atmosphere of complete impunity for assassins and mob lynchers. The real culprits are those spokespersons of the ruling party and the prime time anchors and TV channels who have spread canards about me, branded me anti-national based on lies and virtually incited a lynch-mob against me. This has specifically made my life extremely vulnerable,” he said in his statement.
He said that the hate campaign against him has been going on for last two years. “There is no evidence, only lies. There has been no charge-sheet, only media-trial. If they believe that with attacks like this they are going to scare us into silence, then they are gravely mistaken,” he wrote.
He appealed to the Delhi Police to provide him with security as there was a “continuous threat” to his life. “In the last two years, I have demanded police protection twice from the Delhi Police, but only to be met with a callous response. I have been given death threats several times in the past and receive several threats and inciteful messages everyday on social media. After yesterday’s incident, what is the Delhi Police waiting for?” he said.