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Tuesday 21 January 2020

Umar Khalid shot at, say associates; eyewitness busts claim

According to an eyewitness, Khalid and some others were standing at a nearby tea stall when the man approached him, pushed him and opened fire with a pistol, but a journalist who was passing by said the assailant was aiming at somebody else while Khalid was nowhere around

New Delhi: JNU student leader Umar Khalid claimed he had escaped unhurt after an unidentified man shot at him in central Delhi on Monday.

The alleged incident took place outside the Constitution Club in the heart of the city where he had come for an event titled “Khauff Se Azaadi”, organised by an organisation named United Against Hate. The assailant fled as some activists who had organised the event tried to apprehend him.

According to a communist activist, Khalid and some others were standing at a nearby tea stall when the man approached him, pushed him and opened fire with a pistol. However, the bullet missed as Khalid slipped.

The assailant then allegedly fired in the air and fled. Khalid later said: “There is an atmosphere of fear in the country, and anybody who speaks against the government is threatened.”

Khalid was among the three Jawaharlal Nehru University students who had been arrested in connection with an event held on 9 February 2016, on campus in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. He also faced action from the university.

The claim of the communist activists was soon busted, as a journalist associated with Dainik Bhaskar, Santosh Kumar, said to the media that Khalid was nowhere in the scene when the incident of firing occurred.

“I was going towards my car parked near Vittalbhai Patel House. Suddenly a scuffle broke out between two men near Ghanshyam’s tea stall near the Constitution Club gate. There was also a girl present there,” said Kumar.

The journalist said that he saw an unidentified man lying on the ground and an assailant aiming at him. The man on the ground was not Khalid, Kumar said. As he was about to be shot, the girl screamed and the assailant fled, according to the eyewitness.

Thereafter, the journalist informed, some people came rushing from the Constitution Club premises, seeing which the assailant dropped the gun on the road and fled. Kumar said one of those who had rushed out might have been Khalid, but he was not sure about that.

DCP, New Delhi district, Madhur Verma said: “According to Khalid, the attacker fired in the air” and ran away. That itself does not make Khalid’s claim add up. If Khalid was the target of the assailant, why would the shot be fired in the air?

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