New Delhi: The charges against JNU PhD scholar Umar Khalid are shrouded in a lot of "fabrications and lies" and the episode has "taken away" all sense of normalcy and sanity from the lives of his family members, his sister said today calling him a "true son" of India.
US-based PhD student Maryam Fatima also hit out at a section of the media for running a "trial" against Umar, the alleged organiser of an event against Afzal Guru's execution at the JNU, saying it is creating a "lynch mob" climate.
Umar, a former member of ultra-Left students outfit Democratic Students Union, has been missing since the JNU row broke out and police is on the look out for him.
"Most channels have been conducting media trials based on false information. They first claimed there was an IB report linking Umar to Jaish-e-Muhammad. This was denied by the IB. But the story is still doing the rounds. All of this is adding up to a lynch mob climate," Fatima told PTI over e-mail.
Umar, who is working on his PhD on tribal rights and colonial forest policy, has placed his concern for the dispossessed over his own life and career - turning down opportunities to go abroad, she claimed.
She said he has been actively campaigning for the rights of the marginalised and alleged that anti-India slogans at the controversial event at the JNU were raised by ABVP activists.
"The issue of sloganeering is shrouded in a lot of fabrications and lies. Several of the videos were doctored," she alleged. "It is ridiculous to ask us if we think it (anti-India slogans) is okay - of course, not. But you have to dig deeper and see who was raising them. He is a true son of India," she said.
Fatima, who is the eldest among five sisters but younger than their brother Umar, claimed that even her 12-year-old sibling has received "violent threats" on social media.
"My sisters received threats on Facebook when they first started posting in defence of Umar. They are not going to school or college. There are also the posters in Munirka directly calling for Umar's death. As you can imagine, we feel very vulnerable right now," she said.
The family is "not in touch with" Umar since he went missing, Fatima said, and could last speak to him after his television interviews with two channels. "We are really worried for his safety."
She claimed the allegations about Umar's links to Pakistan, terrorists and JeM are absolutely false and that he does not even have a passport.
On their father SQR Ilyas' past links with SIMI, a banned outfit, Fatima said that he left SIMI in 1985, way before it was banned in 2001 and Umar's birth. "There is no connection here, nothing more to be made of."
Ilyas today said it is for the judiciary to decide whether his son was involved in the case and demanded that he be spared a "media trial".
"If they were seditionist, it should be decided by the court. There should not be a media trial. He was fighting for adivasis and poor farmers," he said.
Voicing concern over the safety of her brother, Fatima said, "As we saw in JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar's case, rouge elements are obstructing the path of justice. He was roughed up outside a court of law. Who can be safe in such an environment?"
Police is looking for Umar, who is accused of shouting anti-India slogans during an event on February 9 at the campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Ilyas criticised the arrest of JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition as well as the "atmosphere that is being created against Khalid and his friends".
JNU has been an educational centre where such things have been happened in the past as well, he said, adding that the varsity accommodates people of different ideologies and provides platform for their voices.
"The beauty of JNU is that it accommodates (people of different ideologies) and gives a platform to raise their voice," he said.