New Delhi: A day after he was attacked by an unidentified assailant here, JNU student leader Umar Khalid on Tuesday alleged the real culprits were people breeding an “atmosphere of hatred, bloodlust and fear” from their seats of power and those providing a complete impunity for “assassins and mob lynchers”.
On a day when the Delhi Police handed over the case to its Special Cell, which incidentally is already probing an old sedition case against him and two other JNU students, Khalid referred to the ‘Tukde Tukde’ hashtag being prefixed to his name when it was the BJP leaders who “openly support those who say they will do ‘tukde tukde’ of the country (break the country into pieces) if a certain movie is released”. He also suggested ideas for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech in a Twitter post.
“Modi Ji, you had asked for suggestions for your IDay speech. I have a suggestion to make – can you please state that you guarantee that there will be no attack on those who criticize your govt & its many failures,” he wrote on the mircoblogging site. Meanwhile, the police said they had seized 10-12 CCTV footage and it was found the accused had fled towards Gurudwara Bangla Sahib after the attack.
It is suspected he had deliberately dropped the gun while fleeing after the attack. The police scanned their records to identify whether the fingerprints matched any of the criminals in their records but the search did not yield any results, said a police officer privy to the probe. They are relying on forensic experts to find fingerprints on the magazine found inside the pistol. Police had said the pistol had jammed while the accused made an attempt to fire and all the six live cartridges were found in the magazine. They did not find any empty bullet case on the spot which indicated that no bullet was fired, but they are awaiting forensic report to completely rule out whether shots were fired.
Khalid, who has often been target of the right-wing trolls on social media platforms with allegations of being anti-national ever since some anti-India slogans were allegedly chanted at an event in JNU, also alleged that he has been a victim of media trial for the last two years without any evidence or charge sheet. While the attack, which took place in the national capital’s high security zone outside the Constitution Club at a short distance away from Parliament and just two days before Independence Day, has already raised questions about security cover of the city, Khalid launched a no-holds-barred attack on the government in a Facebook post and said he always got a “callous response” whenever he sought security from Delhi Police in the last two years.
In the post, he also tagged a picture in which he is seen with journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead last September in Bengaluru. “With the repeated death threats against my life, and having seen the assassinations of one activist after the other in the last few years, I somehow knew that someday a gun may be turned against me too,” he wrote. “(Narendra) Dhabolkar, (M M) Kalburgi, (Govind) Pansare, Gauri Lankesh. the list of assassinations has been ever-growing. But can I say that I was ready for this? Can anyone ever say that they are ready for such an eventuality for real? No,” he said.
Khalid said the fact that he was attacked by an armed assailant in one of the most “high security” zones of the national capital two days before Independence Day proved how some people felt they enjoyed impunity under the current regime. He said he did not know his attackers but they were not the real culprits. “The real culprits are those who from their seats of power have been breeding an atmosphere of hatred, of bloodlust and fear. The real culprits are those who have provided an atmosphere of complete impunity for assassins and mob lynchers,” he said.
“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,” Khalid continued. “Why is it that hashtags like “Tukde Tukde” has literally become a prefix to my name, whereas BJP leaders openly support those who say they will do “tukde tukde” of the country if a certain movie is released?” he asked. Khalid was attacked when he was on his way to take part in an event at the Constitution Club after having tea at a shop outside the venue.
The police has said they were not “intimated” about the event in which Khalid was participating. A police officer, privy to the probe, said police had seized the weapon and preliminary forensic examination suggested that the pistol had jammed. He said they were yet to ascertain whether shots were fired as no empty cartridges were found on the spot. A case of attempt to murder was registered by the police later.