Editorial: Attack on Umar Khalid is to silence fearless thinkers

On Monday afternoon, prominent youth leader and student of Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Umar Khalid, was attacked. He was shot at by an unknown gunman outside high security zone Constitution Club in New Delhi. Even though Khalid luckily escaped unhurt but the attack only vindicates what he has been saying all along – that the atmosphere of fear has taken over the country.

Khalid, after the attack, said, “There is an atmosphere of fear in the country, and anybody who speaks against the government is threatened.”

Of course, the atmosphere has reached to a point where sane voices are being silenced – not just by censorship but by killing them. People are being shot dead in broad day light for taking a stand against the powerful. This is not only an issue of concern for general public, for there will be a time when no one will speak for them. No one will take a stand fearing back-clash. These attacks are messages.

Khalid was at the Club to attend a rally to protest against lynchings, and crimes against women. Is it a crime to speak protest against the injustices like these? He is taking a stand not for himself but for millions. If anyone wants him dead it is those who are perpetrating these crimes, who are unleashing these injustices on public, who have instilled fear to millions of people.

The attacker is nothing but a coward – and the act in itself is cowardice. It can’t be called anything else and if anyone wants to mince words in narrating what is happening today, they are the party to that cowardice.

Earlier the issue was people are being trolled on social media but now one by one guns are being aimed at those who speak out fearlessly, just like Umar Khalid continues to do. If his killing is going to help anyone it is those who want people to be herds, without thinking about their prosperity.

This attack has only confirmed that today atmosphere has reached to a level where you can’t have a free thinking mind – you just can’t think. If you start thinking, you will soon be facing an unknown person, aiming a gun at you. But that will be the win of cowardice and do you want the cowards to win?

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