Welcoming Umar Khalid

February 22, 2016

Rohit Dhankar

Umar Khalid is back from his brief hiding and it is a right decision. One can understand in his situation it is a courageous decision, and therefore, shows his determination and courage as well. May be some faith in the processes of the Indian system and certainly confidence in the support of his ideological comrades.

The speech he gave at JNU (saw this morning) is an inspiring speech and shows his concern for the deprived masses and struggle for them or on their behalf. The speech also shows concern for what the society might become if jingoist nationalism and canard spread through media gets upper hand. It also shows a confidence bordering on arrogance, but that perhaps is a necessary ingredient in any movement. Every Indian should be with Umar Khalid in these things.

But he answered none of the questions which right thinking, in my view—right thinking, Indians would like to ask him. Some of the questions I have for this staunch supporter of the deprived people are listed below.

  1. Let me begun with the one which arises out of today’s speech. He counted several instances when JNU students did not allow a view counter to their own ideology to be expressed in JNU. He clearly thinks that it was right. Then on what grounds can he demand right to free speech? Is it defendable to demand right to free speech for people who share views with him but feeling proud of denying the same right to others?
  2. He clearly raised at the least one objectionable, to my mind, slogans: Kashmir ki azadi tak jang rahegi. Does he support violent so-called azadi movement in Kashmir? If he does, why should he not be considered abetting violence against the Indian state and Indian people? If he does not, what does that slogan mean?
  3. He shouted “kitane Afzal maroge, ….”. Let’s assume he was unhappy with the lacunas pointed out by many in Afzal’s trial and that he happens to believe that Afzal was hanged wrongly. But no one denies Afzal’s involvement in the parliament attack. What are his views on the parliament attack? Was it a just attack, and does he support it?
  4. He was the most prominent organizer of the event on 9th February 2016. There were slogans like “Bharat tere tukade honge, …”, “Bharat ki barbadi tak, …..” in that event. What is his attitude to these slogans? Will he help catch the people who raised those slogans? Does he feel responsible about such slogans raised in an event he organized?
  5. The permission was withdrawn before it started. He simply ignored the authorities. Does he believe that if the authorities do not go as you want you have the right to disregard their decisions?
  6. There was an encounter between the terrorists and security forces in Kashmir a couple of days back. Several (seven?) security people and civilians dies in that. What is his stand on them? What does he think about the security forces people who died? Does he have any thoughts to spare for them as he has great concern for Afzal?

And do supporters of Umar Khalid know his stand on these issues? Are they with him on these issues, whatever his views on them might be?

If the supporters of JNU resistance and Umar Khalid be kind enough to explain their position on these issues, they may find many more supporters among the Indian people. But may be they do not need or care for support of people who ask such clearly retrograde questions!