Several politicians from across party lines on Thursday condemned the shooting near Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University in which one student was injured.
The incident occurred after a man shot at protestors marching towards Rajghat – the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, whose death anniversary is being observed on Thursday. The firing came days after Bharatiya Janata Party leaders made several allegations against anti-CAA protestors, especially in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood. A video of Union minister Anurag Thakur seemingly encouraging the crowd to shoot protestors went viral earlier this week.
Following the episode, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said the incident was possible only because BJP leaders provoked people to shoot protestors in their speeches. “The Prime Minister should answer what kind of Delhi he wants to build,” she tweeted. “Do they stand with violence or non-violence? Do they stand with development or with chaos?”
Communist Party of India’s General Secretary D Raja said the incident was the “direct result” of inflammatory speeches made by BJP leaders. “Jamia firing incident a direct result of provocative statements made by BJP leaders during campaigning in Delhi,” he told PTI. “BJP leader Anurag Thakur should be arrested for his comments urging crowds to raise slogan of shoot the traitors.”
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi blamed Thakur for the incident and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to identify the shooter by his clothes. During an election rally in Jharkhand last month, Modi had said that those who are protesting against the amendments to the Citizenship Act can be identified by their clothes.
“Thanks to Anurag Thakur and all the 9 pm nationalists who have created so much hatred in this country that a terrorist shoots a student while cops watch,” Owaisi tweeted. The Hyderabad MP was referring to news channels that conduct debates at 9 pm.
The AIMIM chief also accused the Delhi Police of being bystanders and castigated them for not removing barricades to allow the injured student to get medical help. “Can you explain why a gunshot victim had to climb over a barricade?” he said. “Do your service rules stop you from being humane?”
The Aam Aadmi Party said the incident proved that the law and order situation in the national Capital had taken a turn for the worse. “Whatever happened in Jamia today proves that BJP, through a well-planned conspiracy and because of fear of loss [in polls] wants to create a riot-like situation in Delhi and postpone elections,” party leader Sanjay Singh said, according to News18.
In an apparent reference to Anurag Thakur, Singh also blamed the saffron party’s leaders for delivering instigating speeches. AAP leader Ajoy Kumar pointed out that the assailant was “so fearless” that he livestreamed the episode on Facebook. “It is clear that police is offering protection to the man,” he alleged. “We demand the resignation of Amit Shah and an FIR [first information report] against Anurag Thakur.” He also sought an explanation from the Delhi Police on how the man could wave around a gun in public.
Congress leader Manish Tewari lashed out at the BJP for creating an atmosphere of fear, which he claimed had led to the incident at Jamia Millia. “Sad that the hatred that killed Gandhi is occupying power in India. This incident is the result of an environment of hatred that has been created. This is an effort to polarise the people.”
Communist Party of India leader and former Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar posted a split image of a painting of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and a photo of the gunman. “See these pictures. Nathuram Godse, the first terrorist of independent India, blinded by hate, had killed Gandhiji in the same way 72 years ago because he believed that bapu is the ‘traitor of the country’,” he tweeted. “Today, those in power and taking the name of [deity] Ram are creating a country of Nathuram. Wake up before the entire country is destroyed.”
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BJP leaders’ comments on CAA protestors
Anurag Thakur, the minister of state for finance, had received a notice from the poll body on Tuesday evening for allegedly using inflammatory slogans during a rally in Delhi. Addressing a rally in support of a BJP candidate, Thakur was heard shouting “desh ke gaddaron ko” and the crowd responded with “goli maaro saalon ko”. The slogan translates to “shoot the traitors”, with an expletive used for “traitors”, and is a reference to those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission had ordered the BJP to remove Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma from its list of star campaigners for the Delhi Assembly elections for violating election guidelines. Verma was censured for warning voters in Delhi that “lakhs of protestors” gathering in the city’s Shaheen Bagh locality to demonstrate against the citizenship law would enter their homes to “rape their sisters and daughters and kill them”.