A teenager today pulled out a gun and fired at students protesting against the citizenship law near Jamia Millia University in Delhi, injuring one student. Only after he fired the shot did the police, present in large numbers to keep a check on the protest, react.
The protests spiraled as hundreds more joined in, breaking police barricades as they tried to march towards Rajghat.
Home Minister Amit Shah said he had ordered stringent action in the shooting incident and “the culprit will not be spared”. The probe has been transferred to the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police.
In a chilling video, the teenager is seen walking backwards as he points his gun at protesters. Dozens of policemen in riot gear are seen behind him, but none of them is seen trying to stop the shooter.
“Yeh lo azaadi (here’s your freedom)” he sneers at the protesters. After he fires the shot, one police officer is seen walking towards him and grabbing him. Saying that he was a juvenile, police officials said that the attacker cannot be named.
While being taken away, he shouted “Delhi Police zindabad (Long live Delhi Police)”.
The shooter has been detained and is being questioned. “A crowd was coming from Jamia. The person came from the crowd,” senior police officer Chinmoy Biswal told NDTV as the police faced questions about their slow response.
The incident comes against the backdrop of hate speeches made during the campaign for the February 8 Delhi election; Union Minister Anurag Thakur has been banned from campaigning for 72 hours after he was caught on camera encouraging the slogan “Desh Ke Gaddaro Ko, Goli Maaro S***** Ko (Shoot the traitors)” at a rally.
The teenager is from Uttar Pradesh’s Jewar, near Delhi. Details on his Facebook page soon started emerging.
The man had gone live on Facebook minutes before he drew out his gun. Videos on his Facebook timeline showed him walking around in the crowded road – the venue of the protest – with a red backpack on. His previous posts seemed to indicate that he had come prepared for the consequences of his action. “On my last journey, take me draped in saffron and shout slogans of Jai Shri Ram,” one of them in Hindi read. Another more threatening post read, “Shaheen Bagh, Game Over”, referring to a massive protest against the citizenship law taken up by women and children.
“We were standing near the barricades when suddenly this outsider, whom none of us recognised, tried to disturb the peace of the march. He marches forward with a revolver in his hand. We were all trying to stop him and calm him down. The policemen were standing there. We tried to approach them to stop that guy. But they just kept standing there simply. When we tried to take the revolver from his hand, he shot one of our friends,” Jamia student Aamna Asif, who witnessed the terrifying incident, told NDTV.
“He was definitely not one of us. He was from outside,” she added.
The student who was shot at has been identified as Shadab Farooq and was seen being taken away, as he walked with his left hand in blood. He has been taken to the trauma centre of the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The locality has been heavily barricaded after the firing and traffic has been diverted from all the roads near the area.
Violence broke out at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university last month during a protest against the citizenship law; the police were accused of using excessive force on students. Earlier this month, masked goons attacked students and teachers at JNU, triggering nationwide outrage and protests.
Today, hundreds of women protesting at Shaheen Bagh, not far from Jamia, for around six weeks were denied permission by Delhi Police to take out a march from Jamia Millia Islamia to Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial. The protesters said that they had planned a peaceful march to the Rajghat on the death anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi.
The firing took place days after Union Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur urged a crowd at an election rally in Delhi to say “goli maaro” – or shoot down traitors.
Thousands, including students in multiple cities and towns across the country, have taken to the streets since last month to protest the new citizenship law that they say discriminates against the minority Muslim community.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.