NEW DELHI: Politicians and activists red-flagged the "attack" on JNU student leader Umar Khalid today, alleging it was a "brazen incident" of lawlessness that shows that even the high-security zone of Lutyens' Delhi is "not safe".
According to eyewitnesses, a gunshot rang out at the Constitution Club in the high-security area near Parliament this afternoon when an unidentified man targeted Khalid, who escaped unhurt.
The incident found echoes at an event at the IIC in the evening, titled, ironically, 'The Politics of Violence', organised by Centre for Policy Analysis.
AIDWA leaders Subhashini Ali, Rajya Sabha MPs Danish Ali and Manoj Jha, AAP leader Ashutosh, and veteran politician Mani Shankar Aiyar took part in a panel discussion at the event.
Activist Swami Agnivesh and Dr Kafeel Khan also participated in the event during which recent incidents of mob lynching also came up for discussion.
"Mob lynching has become a part of our lives. Society has accepted that violence is the new normal. Fringe has become mainstream and the vocabulary of violence is not challenged," Jha alleged.
Rajya Sabha lawmaker from JD(S) Danish Ali also alleged that "lynching and politics of violence has become routine now".
Referring to the Constitution Club incident, he said, "When you are facing this is Luteyns' Zone, you can imagine what will happen in interior areas of the country.
Swami Agnivesh, who was recently assaulted in Jharkhand's Pakur town by a mob which he had said belonged to BJP-affiliated youth groups, called today's incident a "brazen" act of lawlessness.
"A high-security zone like Lutyens' Delhi and that too the Constitution Club near Parliament shows that the act was state-sponsored. It was also a warning to others to either align or face similar consequences," he alleged.
The attacker dropped the weapon and fled the spot, police and eyewitnesses said.
Police sources said they had seized the weapon.
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.
Aiyar, when asked about the incident, said, "We are living in very dangerous times."
Dr Kafeel Khan, who has alleged that he was made a scapegoat in the Gorakhpur childen tragedy case, said, "Lutyens' Delhi is considered safest place in India. And, then you have this attack on Umar Khalid. Hatred and violence is spreading and its is being celebrated on social media."