For the second consecutive day on Monday, clashes broke out between groups opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act and those who support the law. A video has gone viral showing a protester in northeast Delhi’s Jafrabad walking quickly towards a member of the Delhi Police with a gun in his hands, and then shooting off several rounds.
In the video, the man can be seen pointing the gun in the direction of a mob on the other side of the road and later towards the lone policeman. The shooter reportedly fired around eight rounds. Saurabh Trivedi, a reporter with The Hindu, posted a video of the incident and stated that an anti-CAA protester had opened fire in Jafrabad.
Soon after the incident, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan tweeted grainy images of the incident and suggested that the shooter was associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party. “The shooter will definitely have an association with [BJP leader] Kapil Mishra and BJP,” he wrote. “And that is the reason, he is firing at the Delhi Police. The police are giving protection to the rioters.” The tweet has amassed over 1,000 retweets so far.
Writer-activist Hansraj Meena posted an aerial video of the same incident and said, “Watch the manner in which BJP and RSS terrorist is openly raining bullets at the police at anti-CAA protesters.” He later took down the tweet.
The official handle of the protestors at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh tweeted the video shared by Trivedi and asserted that the shooter was a “pro-CAA goon”. This claim was made on the basis of “saffron flags” seen in the background, said the handle.
Political figure Salman Nizami also made allegations against the “BJP government’ and wrote, “Goons with saffron flags fires at Delhi Police.”
Alt News contacted Saurabh Trivedi who shot the video that has now gone viral. Trivedi provided us with a higher resolution video of the incident.
We found that the protesters were carrying plastic crates that they were using as shields, not saffron flags. One can clearly spot the rectangular plastic crates in a screenshot taken from the high-resolution video.
The crates can be spotted in several frames.
Identifying the mob
Several individuals on social media claimed that the shooter was part of a pro-CAA mob. Alt News spoke with reporters who were on the ground to verify this.
“This man came from the anti-CAA protesters’ side,” Trivedi said. “He shot several rounds, almost eight rounds aimed towards pro-CAA protesters, and in between a single policeman was standing. He aimed the pistol at him and said, ‘Run or else I’ll shoot you.’ But the policeman stood firm, and after that, the man turned back. The policeman retreated and asked other policemen to come with him, and apprehend the shooter.”
Asked how he identified the man as an anti-CAA protester, Trivedi said, “The man came from the side where anti-CAA protesters had blocked the road just outside Jafrabad Metro station. This man came out from the mob of that side. I was on the other side with the police near the temple where pro-CAA protesters were raising slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Both the sides were pelting stones at each other.”
Aishwarya S Iyer, a correspondent with The Quint, also witnessed the violence at Jafrabad. “On one side are anti-CAA protesters from Jafrabad and on the other side are pro-CAA protesters from Maujpur,” she tweeted.
Iyer was videographing the mob while walking from Jafrabad towards Maujpur during the violent clash. She identified the mob in her images and videos as anti-CAA protesters. In a video posted by Iyer, several men wearing skull caps can be seen.
To establish Iyer’s location and verify that the mob pictured by Trivedi and Iyer are the same, Alt News compared a photograph clicked by Iyer with a PTI photo of the same incident. A policeman in a yellow t-shirt donning a helmet can be spotted in the images compared below. The cop is facing the anti-CAA protesters. The shooter (highlighted in green) is also visible in the picture.
A few media organisations identified the shooter as Shahrukh, a claim that Alt News cannot verify.
This article first appeared on Alt News.