JNU student Umar Khalid, an activist on campus

NEW DELHI,KRITIKA SHARMA SEBASTIAN: “He is an amazing speaker and a very bright guy, had he contested for the student’s union election, he would have been the president,” said a JNU student, who has known Umar Khalid for the last three years.

Those who know Umar Khalid say he is an amazing speaker and a bright student.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Those who know Umar Khalid say he is an amazing speaker and a bright student.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Mr. Khalid, however never wanted to contest election as he was a part of the now defunct Democratic Students Union (DSU), which does not believe in Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations and hence none of its members contest elections and has always been an activist.

“The members of DSU including Mr. Khalid are activists. They have been a part of the fight for justice for Rohith Vemula, the Occupy UGC protests and other movements in the past,” said Vipul, a student who is pursuing his M.A. in History from the same centre Umar is a student of.

He is popular among the Kashmiri students for his pro-Kashmir stand. “He is immensely popular among the Kashmiri students here. He has always spoken for them. After this incident however, we think that the voice might be curbed inside the campus”, said another student.

A teacher’s pet, Umar has also been receiving support from a number of faculty members in the department. “He is such a bright guy. We are all shocked by the way he has been represented by people outside the university who do not even know him. He was also offered a scholarship at Yale University. You have to be academically really good to receive that,” a teacher at the Centre for Historical Studies at JNU said.

When the five students including Umar, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakash surfaced back in the campus on Sunday night, it was an emotional comeback for the five of them as the students hugged each other and cheered for their friends.

Umar also addressed his fellow students, where he said that he came back to the campus because he was afraid about his sisters. “When I saw that people were threatening my sisters through social media posts, I thought it was apt to come back,” he said.

A communist, Umar has never believed in any religion and said that it was only in the last 10 days that he realised he is a Muslim.