New Delhi: A gunshot rang out at Constitution Club in the high security area near Parliament on Monday when an unidentified man targeted JNU student leader Umar Khalid, who escaped unhurt, eyewitnesses said. The attacker dropped the weapon and fled the spot, police and eyewitnesses said. Police sources said they had seized the weapon. As confusion persisted over what had actually happened and how many people were involved, Ajay Chaudhury, joint commissioner of police, New Delhi range, said police was investigating whether shots were fired or not.
Giving his version of what had happened, Khalid said he was going back inside the complex, which also houses the Mavlankar Auditorium and MP quarters on Rafi Marg, after having tea when somebody tried to fire at him. “I was returning after having tea. One person came from behind, pushed me down and tried to fire at me. I ran for my life. He fled from there,” Khalid told reporters. “There is an atmosphere of fear. If you speak against the government you will be branded and then anything could happen to you,” he said.
Some witnesses claimed two shots were fired when Khalid was at the entrance of the club, where he was going to attend a conference, Khauff Se Azaadi (Freedom from Fear). “Khalid said he was attacked. Somebody pounced on him and tried to fire at him but the person could immediately not fire. People started chasing him. According to Khalid, he tried to fire in the air. CCTV is being examined to verify the incident,” said Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi).
Narrating what had happened, Saifi, who was with Khalid, said they had gone to have tea and three people approached them. “One of them got hold of Khalid which he resisted. There was a melee as a gunshot was heard. But Khalid was not injured. While the accused were fleeing, they fired one more shot,” he told reporters at the spot. Ban Jyotsana Lahiri, who was also there at the time, added that a man carrying a gun came from behind them and grappled with Khalid. “There was a scuffle. He shot from the gun after which he fled.”