An armed youth fired at students of the Jamia Millia Islamia university who were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act on Thursday, resulting in one being injured. Minutes before he fired at the protesters outside the university campus, the armed youth wrote multiple Facebook posts berating the agitators and their 'azaadi' (freedom) slogans, and that hinting he was prepared for any eventuality.
An FIR under Section 307, the charge of attempt to murder, was filed against the gunman and he was taken in for questioning, Devesh Shrivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police, said.
— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2020
The incident caused outrage across society, with Opposition leaders, journalists, activists, and citizens accusing the Delhi Police of inaction after photos and videos emerged of the force standing some yards behind the youth.
'Going to give you freedom'
He wrote: "azaadi de raha hun (going to give you freedom)", "Shaheen Bhag khel khatam" (Shaheen Bagh, the game is over), "mere ghar ka khayal rakhna" (take care of my home) and "meri antim yatra par mujhe bhagve me le jayen aur shree Ram ke nare lagaye" (wrap me in saffron for my last rites and chant Shri Ram).
The youth, in his now deleted Facebook profile, also said he is taking revenge for "Chandan Bhai", apparently referring to a Chandan Gupta who died of gunshot wounds after he was shot during a motorcycle rally taken out in Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj to celebrate Republic Day in 2018.
Facebook released a statement saying that there was "no place on Facebook for those who commit this kind of violence." The statement said, "We have removed the gunman's Facebook account. We are removing any content that praises, supports, or represents the gunman or the shooting as soon as we identify it," according to a report by The Times of India.
"Chandan bhai ye badla aapke liye hai (this revenge is for you)," the gunman had posted. PTI quoted the Delhi Police as saying that there were yet to ascertain the shooter’s real name and age.
However, pictures of his purported marksheet and Aadhaar card, which indicate that he is a minor, circulated on social media.
Delhi: CBSE marksheet of the allegedly minor gunman who brandished a gun and opened fire in Jamia area, earlier today. One student was injured in the incident. pic.twitter.com/3p6Pgbsl7P
— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2020
Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and other places often raise slogans like “CAA se azaadi, NRC se azaadi (freedom from CAA and NRC).
The shooter also went live on Facebook five times from the protest site. In another post, he said, "please don't call", suggesting he was receiving calls on his phone following his posts.
The Facebook profile was deleted after screenshots of the posts were shared widely on social media.
According to witnesses, the man fired a pistol at a group of anti-CAA protesters in Jamia Nagar before walking away while waving the firearm above his head and shouting "yeh lo aazadi" amid heavy police presence in the area.
Jamia VC slams Delhi Police
Jamia Millia Islamia vice chancellor Najma Akhar issued a statement saying that the university’s administration will pay for the treatment of the injured student Shadaab Farooq and reschedule exams for him.
Farooq was taken to the AIIMS trauma centre, where he was declared stable by the doctors, police said.
Lauding the students present for handling the situation “tactfully” and not retaliating, Akhtar slammed the Delhi Police for “just watching” while the shooter brandished the pistol. “Cops just watched as man brandished pistol and shot our student, incident has shaken our faith in police,” she was quoted by PTI as saying.
— Jamia Coordination Committee (@Jamia_JCC) January 30, 2020
The students continued to protest after the shooting incident even as police blocked their attempt to march to the Rajghat to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
'Happened in split second'
Praveer Ranjan, the Special Commissioner of the Delhi Police said that the incident happened in a "split second" which is why the police "couldn't react immediately".
Ranjan's statement comes amid criticism levelled by Opposition leaders, journalists, and activists that the Delhi Police didn't act in the appropriate manner or fast enough when the shooter was brandishing the gun.
He said, "We've checked the injured & pellet has been removed from his arm. As per doctors he's stable. Police couldn't react immediately as incident happened in split second but soon police overpowered him. Case transferred to Crime Branch.
Praveer Ranjan, Special Commissioner of Police: We've checked the injured & pellet has been removed from his arm. As per doctors he's stable. Police couldn't react immediately as incident happened in split second but soon police overpowered him. Case transferred to Crime Branch. pic.twitter.com/UvS4Z1Jwhh
— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2020
Anurag Thakur under fire
Union Minister Anurag Thakur, who on 27 November raised the slogan of ‘shoot the traitors' in a poll rally for the upcoming Delhi Assembly election, came under fire after the incident, with the hashtag ‘#ArrestAnuragThakur’ trending on Twitter.
On Thursday, the Election Commission, who had issued a showcause notice to Thakur over his remark, barred him from campaigning for three days. The EC also barred BJP MP Parvesh Verma for four days for saying that what happened in Kashmir with Kashmiri Pandits could happen in Delhi, warning that lakhs of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters in Shaheen Bagh could enter homes to rape and kill women.
An EC official said the decision was taken as the poll panel was not satisfied with their reply to the show-cause notices.
Amit Shah vows 'strict action'
Home Minister Amit Shah, under whose jurisdiction the Delhi Police is, issued a statement saying that he had instructed the force to take "strict action" against the shooter,
"Today I have spoken to Delhi Police Commissioner on the firing incident that has taken place and instructed them to take strict action. The central government will not tolerate any such incident, it will be taken seriously and the culprit will not be spared," he said.
आज दिल्ली में जो गोली चलाने की घटना हुयी है उसपर मैंने दिल्ली पुलिस कमिश्नर से बात की है और उन्हें कठोर से कठोर कार्यवाही करने के निर्देश दिए हैं।
केंद्र सरकार इस तरह की किसी भी घटना को बर्दाश्त नहीं करेगी, इसपर गंभीरता से कार्यवाही की जाएगी और दोषी को बख्शा नहीं जायेगा।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) January 30, 2020
Meanwhile, the AAP and Congress, calling for Shah's resignation, said that the saffron party wanted to create a "riot-like" situation in the city and get the Assembly polls, scheduled for 8 February, postponed "as it can sense its defeat".
AAP, the ruling party in Delhi, also called Shah the "most incompetent home minister India has ever had", while also slamming the police for just being a "mute spectator" to the firing incident.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi's law and order was "deteriorating". "What is happening in Delhi? The law and order is deteriorating. Please take care of Delhi's law and order," Kejriwal said in reply to a tweet by Shah.
ये दिल्ली में क्या हो रहा है? दिल्ली की क़ानून व्यवस्था बिगड़ती जा रही है। कृपया दिल्ली की क़ानून व्यवस्था को सम्भालिये https://t.co/jtBtDqncND
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 30, 2020
"The BJP did such a disgusting act on the martyrdom day of Gandhi ji. The BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah are scared of losing the upcoming polls and they are trying to get the polls postponed through the act," AAP leader Sanjay Singh told reporters at a press conference. He further alleged that Shah has tied the hands of the Delhi police that is "why they were mute spectators to the incident".
Meanwhile, the Congress accused the BJP of "polarising" the Delhi Assembly polls and said the firing incident at Jamia Milia Islamia is a live manifestation of the "specter of hate and terror perpetrated by the NDA government" at the Centre. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the hate that assassinated Mahatma Gandhi is today mutilating the soul and the economy of India.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "answer about what kind of Delhi he wants to build", said that such incidents were "possible when the ministers and leaders of the BJP government will incite people to shoot by giving provocative speeches."
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that such incidents "don't scare" the Opposition. Owaisi also accused Thakur and "all the 9 pm nationalists" for creating "so much hatred in this country that a terrorist shoots a student while cops watch."
In a series of tweets, he took a dig at Narendra Modi, asking to identify the shooter by "his clothes". He also noted that the shooting occurred on a day when we were remembering "terrorist Godse’s murder of Gandhi". Today is the 72nd death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
It happened today, when we were remembering terrorist Godse’s murder of Gandhi. When students were going to march to mark the event.
Such cowardice does not scare us. The protests will go on. This is now Godse v. Gandhi’s, Ambedkar’s & Nehru’s India
It’s easy to pick a side
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) January 30, 2020
PTI reported that the accused, who stays with his family in Jewar in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida area, had skipped a family wedding while his kin had gone out of town to attend it. People from his neighbourhood expressed shock at the development.
"He would mostly stay alone and quiet. He never got into violence of any kind nor had any such track record. I got to see his Facebook live and was shocked. I was having my food but stopped midway because what was happening was beyond my imagination," said Yogi Sharma, a Jewar local, who knows the family.
Sharma said the youth's parents and other people in the area learned about the incident from TV channels.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 31, 2020 00:10:33 IST