The Spark Team strongly condemns the attempt on the life of Umar Khalid, a student activist of JNU, on 13 August in New Delhi and demands that the culprit and those behind him must be immediately caught and punished.
We here blow reproduce excerpts from the statement issued by Umar Khalid after the attempt on his life, “They can’t scare us into silence”:
“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….. 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. I do not know who he was or who are the forces behind him. That is for the police to investigate. But I want to state here that if something untoward would have happened yesterday, or if it were to happen tomorrow, then do not just hold that “unidentified gunman” responsible. 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. 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.”
“Why is that I am called an anti-national and subjected to a never ending media trial, but there is no outrage against those who burnt the Constitution in the heart of the capital, in the presence of the Delhi police just a few days back? Why is it that those who are hell-bent on polarizing the country by hate-mongering against the minorities and by felicitating mob-lynchers are respected, revered and garlanded? And we who speak against hatred are villainized? Why is it that those who speak of dividing the society in the name of caste and attack the dalits – the likes of Shambhaji Bhide, whom PM Modi calls a mahapurush- are not accused of breaking the country to pieces? Why is it that the people in power who want to sell off this country piece by piece to big corporates at the cost of the poor, are celebrated as deshbhakts and their critics deemed as “anti-nationals”? These are all relevant questions today.”
“If they believe that with attacks like this they are going to scare us into silence, then they are gravely mistaken. The ideas of Gauri Lankesh, the ideas Rohith have outlived them. They cannot browbeat us into silence, neither with their jails, nor with their bullets. We proved it yesterday itself. Despite the attack on me, the program Khauf Se Azaadi (Freedom from Fear) by United Against Hate was successfully held in the Constitution Club. Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees, the wife of Alimuddin (whose killers Union Minister Jayant Sinha garlanded recently) Maryam, the mother of Junaid (16 year old lynched on a train last year) Fatima, Rakbar Khan’s brother Akbar, Dr Kafeel Khan along with Prashant Bhushan, Prof. Apoorvanand, SR Darapuri, Manoj Jha and many others addressed the gathering raising their voice against hatred, lynchings and the terror spread by these saffron terror. That is the spirit of our resistance.”