JNU Row: Umar Khalid says Never Followed Islam, But called An Islamic Terrorist
New Delhi: Just after the hours of release from Tihar jail in a sedition case, JNU student Umar Khalid today said he has no regrets of being jailed and rather he is proud of being booked under the said charges.
He further said that they have no regrets of being jailed in the case with sedition charges instead they are proud of the fact that they have been booked under sedition, a law under which activists like Arundhati Roy and Binayak Sen were booked.
According to the sources, Umar said he felt a bit like a character from Mohsin Hamid’s Reluctant Fundamentalist.
“I felt like that character in the Reluctant Fundamentalist,” adds Umar. For the police, Umar was “Khalid-mian”.”
“Our names have been added to the list of those who have been jailed for raising their voices,” he told a gathering at the varsity. But he clarifies that they were not tortured or ill-treated in jail.
In a 35-minute speech, Umar said, “I am not ashamed that I was in jail. Criminals are those who are in power, those in jail are the ones who raise their voices.”
He further said that freedom of expression is not in danger but it is in the hand of those people who are in power. He further said people like (Pravin) Togadia and Yogi Adityanath have all the freedom of expression.
Umar Khalid claimed that he was being labelled a terrorist because of Islam which he doesn’t practice.
“I never followed Islam but I was called Islamist terrorist. It was not just my trial but entire Muslim community’s trial. But I want to ask what if I was practising Muslim? What if I came from Azamgarh and wore a skull cap? That will be enough to give me a terrorist certificate”, he said.
Khalid, who was welcomed at the gathering by JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and his 6-year-old sister Sara, said, “Those who are raising concerns about wastage of taxpayers’ money, we want to tell them we are not going to go back to studies now that we are back from jail. By jailing us you have given bigger responsibilities on our shoulders and we will fulfill that by fighting.”
Umar, and Anirban Bhattacharya was arrested last month on sedition by the Delhi police. They were alleged of the controversial event organized to protest hanging of Afzal Guru. Today, they were guaranteed bail for six months by a Delhi court on the ground equality with Kanhaiya.
Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU president was also arrested on charges of sedition in connection with the February 9 event at the JNU was granted bail earlier this month.