A gunman on Saturday fired bullets in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality, which has emerged as the epicentre of nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported. There were no reports of injuries.
The incident occurred around 4.53 pm. The accused, who identified himself as Kapil Gujjar, was taken into custody by the police. He claimed to be a resident of Dallupura village near Noida border, reported ANI. Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmay Biswal said the shooter fired in the air, and was immediately overpowered and caught by the police. Biswal added that a first information report was registered.
Videos from the site showed the man saying “Hamare desh mein sirf Hinduon ki chalegi aur kisi ki nahi [in our country only Hindus will prevail].”
The gunman allegedly shouted “Jai Sri Ram” when he fired the gun, NDTV reported. A witness told the news channel the shooter fired twice or thrice while standing right next to the police. “We suddenly heard gunshots,” said the person, who volunteers at the protest site. “This person was shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. He had a semi-automatic pistol and he fired two rounds. The police were standing just behind him.”
The witness said the gunman tried to flee when his gun jammed. “He tried to fire again, then tossed the gun into the bushes and tried to escape,” he said. “Some of us and the police caught him, the police dragged him away.” The weapon has been seized, ANI reported.
The incident occurred two days after a gunman shot a student near Jamia Millia Islamia while protestors were marching to the Gandhi memorial at Rajghat on the anniversary of the freedom struggle leader’s assassination.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijaldirected Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to ensure outsiders and suspicious individuals are thoroughly frisked before they enter the protest site at Shaheen Bagh, Hindustan Times quoted unidentified officials as saying.
Baijal advised the police to put up barricades around the protest site to frisk outsiders. The lieutenant governor reportedly spoke to Patnaik after the gunman was arrested.
Over the past week, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have made provocative remarks about protestors at Shaheen Bagh. At a rally, Union minister Anurag Thakur appeared to encourage the shooting of protestors. Thakur was heard shouting “desh ke gaddaron ko [the traitors to the country]” while the crowd responded with “goli maaro saalon ko [shoot the traitors]”.
Hundreds of women, along with children, have been peacefully protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens at Shaheen Bagh since the middle of December. The law has been widely criticised as discriminatory and Indian Muslims fear it could be used along with the citizens’ register to harass and disenfranchise them.