The Jamia Millia Islamia student who was shot at during a protest on Thursday has said he is “in a lot of trauma and has been unable to talk to anyone” since the incident. Shadab Farooq Najar, 21, was shot in the forearm by a 17-year-old, even as several policemen stood metres away.
Shadab, who hails from Bhaderwah town in Doda district of J&K’s Chinab valley, has been at Jamia for the last four years. “It is traumatic to even think of it… it was a close shave,” he said. “Whenever I close my eyes to sleep, I see the whole thing… it happens again and again… my eyes open when I hear the sound (gunshot); this entire experience plays like a live scene in front of me.”
“I was’t scared somehow; I don’t know why. When I saw him raise his gun, I felt I need to stop him. I went ahead and tried to stop him. I was telling him to lower the gun and was walking towards him. I thought once I get closer to him, I will grab him. I also thought police are going to stop him. They were behind him. Perhaps I didn’t realise police are not going to do anything,” he said.
On the gunman, Shadab said: “He wanted to show Jamia in a bad light. He wanted to show students of Jamia in a bad light. I am from Jamia and I represent Jamia and I had to stand for Jamia. I felt that. I think I will stand for Jamia if such a situation comes again. Everybody should stand for rights, for justice.”
Saying that he hadn’t joined the protest when the incident took place, Shadab added that he was waiting for a friend when he saw the man wielding a gun. “I had the camera flash of a friend with me, and he needed it. I had planned to join the protest subsequently.”
“At that point, I was alone. I saw this man wielding a gun. He walked at least 100-150 metres, raising the gun in his hand and shouting slogans. I walked towards him, told him to lower the gun. The other people — there were around 20-25 standing there — many photographers, photojournalists, they were all pleading with police to stop him,” he said. “I saw policemen standing with their hands inside their pockets… some of them were making videos. I told him twice to lower the gun and when I told him the third time, he opened fire. He aimed at my chest. But I raised my hand and the bullet hit my left forearm.”
“Afterwards, I requested the policemen to open the barricade so I could pass through, but they didn’t. I had to climb over it in that condition,” he said, adding that he was first taken to Holy Family hospital, but the bullet was removed only when he was taken to AIIMS. “They took out the bullet around 8 pm.”
“The movement (in my hand) is slowly returning. The entry wound is open because they didn’t want to stitch it, to avoid infection,” he said.
Shadab said he has been part of the protests all along “because of the brutality committed by police on the students of Jamia in December”. “This time we were marching to Rajghat. We had planned to go there peacefully but they had put barricades there,” he said.
He said that when his parents arrived late in the evening from Jammu, they started crying. “They thought I might be dead,” he said.
He also said that “Delhi Police alone is not to be blamed… Had Jamia administration and V-C taken action against police brutality during earlier events, this might not have been happened”.
“What I did wasn’t an act of heroism. I did what I felt was right and you too should stand for what is right. I am calling for action because I am hurt. If the administration still doesn’t take action and if it fails to reach out to its students, then tomorrow there will be another Shadab standing in front of a bullet while police keep their hands in their pockets and record videos rather than act,” he said.
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