Jamia shooter's age row: CBSE certificate shows him as 'minor', EC document shows he's registered voter since April 2019

New details have emerged in connection with the youth, identified by the Delhi Police as Gopal Sharma, more commonly referred to as the Jamia shooter, after 30 January when he opened fire at peaceful protesters near Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi injuring one student protester Shadab Farooq.

FP Staff February 03, 2020 14:52:07 IST
Jamia shooter's age row: CBSE certificate shows him as 'minor', EC document shows he's registered voter since April 2019
  • Several handles on Twitter, shared a screenshot of the Election Commission website which showed the shooter as an adult, as he is a registered voter from Uttar Pradesh as of 11 April 2019

  • According to news agency ANI, which sourced the CBSE marksheet of the accused, said that he is 18-year-old. The marksheet shows Sharma's date of birth as 8 April, 2002

  • According to fact check websites, Sharma attended Jewar Public School in Uttar Pradesh's Jewar. Reuters, in their report on Sharma, confirmed that he is 17-year-old

New details have emerged in connection with the youth, identified by the Delhi Police as 'Gopal Sharma', more commonly referred to as the Jamia shooter, after 30 January when he opened fire at peaceful protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi injuring one student protester Shadab Farooq.

On 30 January, after a gun-wielding Sharma aimed at the protesters (and later fired a shot), with the Delhi Police standing behind him, quietly watching, outrage erupted across India. Calling the incident "shocking", several prominent leaders, politicians and activists called for Sharma's arrest and also blamed the BJP-led Centre for this escalation of violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Delhi Police had charged Sharma for attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC.

While calls for Sharma's arrest grew louder, new details have emerged regarding the shooter.

While several media reports after the 30 January incident confirmed that Sharma was a "minor", new details based on details fished out of the Election Commission website show that the shooter is not a minor after all. However, verification of these details are still underway. Here is what we know so far.

On Monday, a new controversy erupted over the age of the accused. According to news agency ANI, which sourced the CBSE marksheet of the accused, said that he is 18-year-old. The marksheet shows Sharma's date of birth as 8 April, 2002.

Soon after ANI tweeted the image of the marksheet on 30 January, several handles on Twitter alleged that the news agency was spreading fake news. The ANI report, however, was reaffirmed by several other reports which confirmed that Sharma was indeed a minor. According to fact check websites, Sharma attended Jewar Public School in Uttar Pradesh's Jewar. Reuters, in their report on Sharma, confirmed that he is 17-year-old.

"Family members, neighbours, and a school official in Jewar described the boy — who cannot be named under Indian law because he is under 18 — as quiet and ordinary. His act of violence took them by surprise", Reuters reported. While Reuters report attempted to understand the shooter's background, it did not much information on ascertaining the boy's age.

On Monday, however, several handles on Twitter, shared a screenshot of the Election Commission website which showed the shooter as an adult, as he is a registered voter from Uttar Pradesh as of 11 April, 2019.

The Election Commission website — using his purported EPIC (Electors Photo Identity Card) number — shows Sharma is a registered voter. However, reporters who visited the town of the accused confirmed that the accused is indeed a minor.

Jamia shooters age row CBSE certificate shows him as minor EC document shows hes registered voter since April 2019

Screenshot of the Election Commission page which shows Gopal Sharma as a registered voter as of April 2019.

It can be gleaned from various reports around the accused that he was a pro-majority, pro-Hindu boy who followed the fringe Hindu groups in and around his town.

According to Reuters, "In March 2018, the boy asked friends via Facebook to join a meeting of the Bajrang Dal, a hardline Hindu group tied to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Days later, he shared photos of himself at the meeting. Praveen Bhati, a local leader from the Bajrang Dal, denied the boy was a member of the group. Some classmates said they were aware of his support for Hindu nationalism for at least three years, partly from his social media posts."

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