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Exclusive | Umar Khalid On Attack: I Won’t Be Scared Into Silence

Khalid was allegedly shot at by an assailant outside Constitution Club of India in Delhi, but escaped. 

Updated
India
3 min read
“I’m scared for my life but I’m not going to be scared into silence.”

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid narrates the sequence of events that led to an attack on him involving a gun shot at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi on Monday, 13 August.

From what transpired on the day to the build-up before it involving a hate campaign against him, and the conspiracy theories swirling around the shooting attempt, Khalid gives a detailed account to The Quint.

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Umar Narrates What Happened

“We’d called for a ‘Unite Against Hate’ meeting, which stands against mob lynchings and other hate crimes. Rakbar Khan’s family was coming, Junaid Khan’s family, Radhika Vemula, even Najeeb Ahmad’s mother were all supposed to attend.”

“We’d reached the venue early, and thought we’d go get some chai, which was outside Constitution Club of India. A man came from behind me and held me. Then he pushed me on the ground, pinned me down, and pointed a gun at me.”

As soon as I saw the gun, I grabbed his hand and kept pushing it away. By then, my friends [Sharique Hussain and Banojyotsna Lahiri] came and they started pushing the man away.

Then, he[the gunman] began to run to the other side of the road, and I ran into the Constitution Club. When I was at the gate of Constitution Club I heard a gunshot.  

Umar’s friend Sharique adds, “I ran behind the gunman. By the time he crossed the road, he turned around and fired a shot at me. Then he threw the pistol down and ran away.”

On People Saying There Was No Attack on His Life

“I’m alive, that’s why they’re saying I ‘engineered’ this attack. If I died, they would have said that Naxalites did this.”

“There is an eyewitness account and that is not contradictory to what I’m saying. When the gunshot was eventually fired the gunman was running away, but he did have a gun and it was pointed at me.”

“I’m not saying this just to The Quint, I’ve said this in my statement to the police, that there was a man with a gun and he pointed the gun at me. The police has registered an FIR, and in its statement said that this seemed like an attempt at a targeted killing.”

“The people who are saying that this is not what happened, belong to an ideological dispensation, I won’t even name them.”

“Meenakshi Lekhi[BJP MP], came inside the Constitution Club and said that I was playing the victim card, when I was talking to the police.”

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On People ‘Celebrating’ The Alleged Attempt on His Life

“I’m not a robot, I’m a human being. When there’s been an attempt on your life and you see people celebrating it, it affects you.”

“This is a kind of psychological game that the right is playing with anyone who opposes them. My question is where does this filth come from? Where does this propaganda come from?”

“I’m saying this to the people. Do not just hold the hired gunman responsible. Ask who sent him. People have created sustained, biased propaganda that creates an environment for this.”

“You see ministers like Jayant Sinha garlanding lynchers. Gaurav Bhatia, BJP’s national spokesperson, comes on national television and says, “Umar Khalid ko tukde karenge’”

“I’m NOT saying that was a BJP guy who tried to kill me. That needs to be investigated! While it’s still under investigation, there are people creating a narrative and saying, ‘1. This never happened, and 2. if it did happen, why didn’t it happen properly? Why wasn’t he dead?’”

A few hours after his interview to The Quint, Umar also tweeted a photo with journalist Gauri Lankesh, with the caption, “They can’t scare us into silence. A lesson I learned from Gauri Lankesh.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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