Don’t brand my son as ‘traitor’ because of my past: Umar Khalid’s father

New Delhi, Feb. 19 (ANI): Umar Khalid’s father Syed Qasim Ilyas on Friday expressed disappointment over his son being branded as a ‘terrorist’ because of his past and said it was extremely unfortunate that he was being singled out from among the ten organisers of the event at the JNU because he is a Muslim.

Ilyas said that the court must decide whether his son is guilty.

“I appeal through the media that Umar must surrender before the court,” said

Ilyas, who was a Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) member three decades ago, further said that his son was being branded as the chief organiser and mastermind because he is a Muslim.

“He doesn’t believe in Islam. He is an atheist and doesn’t subscribe to our ideology, and you are branding him as the chief culprit, chief organiser and mastermind. What is this vocabulary,” he asked.

Stating that he doesn’t subscribe to the slogans that have been raised in the JNU campus, Ilyas, “Who have raised these slogans? Let it be proved in the court of law. And, if it is seditious, let the law take its own course.”

“But the way the media trial is going on, it is very unfortunate. Will the media decide who is culprit, who is guilty and who is innocent? Has this authority been given to the media, don’t we have a judicial system? From lower courts up to the Supreme Court, we have a very strong judicial system. Let the court decide, why we are becoming judgemental, why we are branding a person as terrorist,” he asked.

He said his son doesn’t have even a passport, adding there is an allegation in the media that he had been to Pakistan.

“As a father, I know that his total life is dedicated for the cause of the Dalit, tribal and poor. He got an offer to study abroad, but he refused as he did not want to move out of the country for the people here, and you are branding him as a terrorist,” he rued.

“How’re you associating my past with SIMI to Umar Khalid? I retired from SIMI in 1985, and Umar was born after that,” stated Ilyas.

Convinced that he was the organiser of the event to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru on February 9 on the JNU campus leading to students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, the Delhi Police is making all attempts to arrest him at the earliest.

Umar, a native of Bihar, is a leader of Democratic Student’s Union (DSU), an extreme Left group active in JNU. Even though he was born in a Muslim family, he identifies himself as an atheist.

He is a PhD student at the School of Social Sciences at JNU. He also did his MA and MPhil from JNU and has been doing field work in Jharkhand. (ANI)

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