Bengaluru, Feb 19: 'My son is not a traitor'. This is what Dr SQR Ilyas, the father of Umer Khalid had to say. Umer Khalid has been accused of being part of the protests at the JNU in which anti India slogans are alleged to have been shouted.
In the past few days there have been reports in the media about Umer Khalid that he was associated with some groups in Kashmir and also the DSU, a pro naxal union in the JNU.
His father Dr Ilyas wants to set the record straight. I am completely opposed to anyone raising anti India slogans, Dr Ilyas says. In this interview with OneIndia, Dr Ilyas says that while raising anti India slogans needs to be condemned, the police must also probe who raised them.
Are you in touch with your son Umer Khalid?
Not at all. I have not spoken to him since February 11th.
Your son has been accused of being a traitor for raising anti India slogans. What are your views on this?
My son is not a traitor. He has in the past raised some very valid points. He has fought for the rights of farmers and tribals. He has taken part in several protests at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. He will never raise anti India slogans.
What are your views on the anti India slogans being raised in the JNU?
I am completely opposed to it. None have the right to live in India and raise slogans against their own country. However I would also like to add that the police must probe who really raised those slogans. Let them prove it in the court of law.
Are you saying your son is innocent?
Yes that is what I am saying. I do not believe that he will raise slogans against India. I must tell you that he had also organised a protest in connection with the Rohith Vemula issue. I can say with all certainty that my son is a victim of conspiracy.
If he is innocent then why is he not coming out in the open?
Has anyone created a conducive atmosphere for him to come out in the open. Just look at what happened at the Patiala House Court. With such violence who will have the confidence to come out in the open. Moreover there is a full fledged media trial against him.
He cannot remain out of reach forever. What are your planning to do?
I am in touch with my lawyer. We are planning on seeking anticipatory bail.
Has the police approached you?
Just once. They had come to inquire. After that they have not been in touch with me. However I found it surprising that a police team visited my ancestral home in Maharashtra. I do not know why they went there. We have left that place 35 years back.
Your son was admitted to the JNU to study. Why politics then?
I agree that he has gone there for academic purpose. However there is no harm in raising issues which affect the common man or the poor.
Do you have faith in the judiciary where this case is concerned?
Yes I do have faith in the judiciary. We will go to the court.
Umer was associated with the DSU, a union in the JNU which is considered to be pro Maoist. Is this correct?
Yes he was associated with the DSU sometime back. However he resigned from it a few years back. As of now he is not part of the DSU.