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JNU row: Umar should surrender, being punished for my past with SIMI, says father

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:43 IST

The Delhi Police have been looking out for Umar Khalid, a member of the now dissolved Democratic Students' Union (DSU) and one of the organisers of the pro-Afzal Guru event held in JNU on 9 February. While he is still absconding, his father has come out in the open to defend his son.

Khalid's father, Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, wants him to surrender before the Court. He says he has no idea about his whereabouts.

Father's past haunting son's future?

Ilyas, who is currently the national president of the Welfare Party of India, is a former member of SIMI. He is apprehensive that his son might be punished for his association with SIMI almost 30 years ago, when the organisation was not banned. SIMI was banned only in 2001 while Ilyas had left it in 1985 before his son was born.

His father adds that the posters made by the students to publicise the Afzal Guru event had the names 10 organisers. He feels his son is being targeted only because he has a Muslim name, in an interview to ANI.

Ilyas' family members say that Khalid didn't believe in religious rituals and always had differences with his family. He was a communist, they say.

In an interview to NDTV's Srinivasan Jain, Khalid's sister said that the family has been receiving rape and murder threats.

According to the Indian Express, Ilyas spoke to his son for the last time the day he appeared on a television debate in the immediate aftermath of the anti-national sloganeering on the JNU campus.

Khalid was part of a now much publicised and shared News Hour debate.

Various media organisations have been claiming, quoting intelligence sources that Khalid is a JeM sympathiser. Many are also digging out his father's association with SIMI.

However, his father clarifies Khalid is no terrorist. Umar is currently pursuing a PhD on condition of tribals in Jharkhand, reported the Indian Express. He did his MA and M phil for JNU.

Edited by Abha Shrivastava

First published: 19 February 2016, 1:29 IST