A man fired shots at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, the heart of protests against the citizenship law CAA, just two days after a teen shooter fired at protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia University.
The man allegedly shouted “Jai Sri Ram” as he fired shots standing near police barricades put up at the south Delhi locality, where hundreds of women and children have sat on the road in protest for more than a month. He was caught by the police.
He was also heard saying: “Humare desh mein sirf hinduon ki chalegi aur kisi ki nahi (in our country only Hindus will prevail).”
A witness said the man fired two-three times, standing right next to the police.
“We suddenly heard gunshots. 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,” said the witness, who says he volunteers at the protest.
“When his gun jammed, he ran. He tried to fire again, then tossed the gun into the bushes and tried to escape. Some of us and the police caught him, the police dragged him away,” he added.
Police officer Chinmay Biswal said the man had fired shots in the air. “The man had resorted to aerial firing. Police immediately overpowered and caught him,” he said.
This incident – the second shooting in Delhi at an anti-CAA protest — has chilling similarities to the one that took place just two km away at Jamia university on Thursday, when a 17-year-old Class 12 student from Uttar Pradesh fired a crude pistol at unarmed protesters with dozens of policemen behind him, watching. The teen, who left home claiming he was going to school, took a bus to Delhi intending to target Shaheen Bagh, but landed at Jamia next-door, after an auto-driver dropped him off there to avoid the traffic chaos.
The Shaheen Bagh protest has attracted attention from across the country in the protests against the CAA or the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which makes religion a criterion for citizenship. Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims as only non-Muslims from neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh can become Indian citizens if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015.
Of late, critics of the Shaheen Bagh protests, mainly pro-CAA activists, have attacked the month-long sit-in on a key road in Delhi connecting to Noida. They say the protest has become a traffic nightmare.