NEW DELHI -- In his speech at the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, Umar Khalid has slammed those media outlets which he blamed for tarnishing his image by portraying him as a budding jihadist, who has traveled to Pakistan, and has sympathies with the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist organization.
"I don't have a passport but I've come to know that I've gone twice to Pakistan," he said. "I laughed when I first saw it. If the Jaish-e-Mohammed finds out that I’m being linked with them, they may do a dharna in front of the RSS headquarters."
On Sunday night, Khalid resurfaced on the college campus with four other students, Anant Prakash Narayan, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga, and Anirban Bhattacharya, who have also been slapped with sedition charges along with the JNU Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
They have been accused of organizing an event to mark the third anniversary of Afzal Guru's execution and raising "anti national" slogans. The JNU row has triggered a nationwide debate on free speech, dissent, who has a monopoly over nationalism, what constitutes being an "anti-national," and when is it a crime.
Railing against the "media trial," the 28-year-old said, "They have no shame, there is no disclaimer, no apology."
Khalid called on JNU students not to get "intimidated" by the government and the media.
"You have take tangled with the wrong university. Remember, we did not let Indira Gandhi enter after the Emergency," he said. "A university which does not allow dissent becomes a prison."
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