The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday expelled Kapil Gujjar, the man who fired shots in the air in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality in February during the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, hours after he joined the party, NDTV reported.
He had taken the official membership of the saffron party in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city.
The BJP claimed that it did know about Gujjar’s past activities. “He was part of a group of BSP workers who joined BJP today,” Ghaziabad BJP unit chief Sanjeev Sharma said, according to ANI. “We had no knowledge about his association with Shaheen Bagh issue.”
Videos of the incident from February 1 showed Gujjar shouting, “In our country, only Hindus will prevail, nobody else.” He fired two or three times while standing right next to the police, witnesses had said.
Shaheen Bagh emerged as the most enduring symbol of the protests against the CAA alongside a proposed National Register of Citizens, which aims to list Indian citizens and delegitimise alleged infiltrators. From December 14, 2019, to March 24, the 101-day sit-in protest led by Muslim women attracted thousands of supporters every day, inspiring dozens of other similar women’s protests in cities and towns across India.
The Shaheen Bagh firing 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.
Prior to this, several BJP 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]”.
A controversy had emerged after reports claimed Gujjar was associated with the Aam Aadmi Party. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo had told reporters that photographs recovered from Gujjar’s phone established that he had joined the Arvind Kejriwal-led party a year ago along with his father.
Deo’s claims – only three days ahead of the Delhi Assembly election – set off a war of words between the AAP and the BJP. However, Deo was taken off poll duty by the Election Commission and warned for making comments about an investigation with “political connotations”.
Later, Gujjar’s father claimed that his son is a “supporter” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He added that Gujjar had “nothing to do with politics”.