A 17-year-old whipped out a gun in broad daylight on Wednesday, waiv-ed it menacingly for a few chilling minutes and then fired it at students protesting against the citizenship law near Jamia Millia University in Delhi, injuring one.
Curiously, a contingent of Delhi police, which has been posted at Shaheen Bagh, the protest venue, watched the incident from the margins, making no attempt to overpower him.
The intervention came only after he had fired the shot and was leisurely walking backwards; it was only then that the police, fully equipped in riot gear, held him by the arm and accosted him from the spot. Later, the police said that he was a juvenile and cannot be named.
"Yeh lo azaadi (here's your freedom)" the youth said, spewing venom at the protesters, as he kept thrusting the gun in their direction. While being taken away, he shouted "Delhi Police zindabad (Long live Delhi Police)".
The incident has come in the run up to the Delhi elections on February 8 and close on the heels of hate speeches made during the campaign.
In fact, the previous day, Union Minister Anurag Thakur has been banned from campaigning for 72 hours after he was caught on camera trying to egg on a gather-ing with the chant: "Desh Ke Gaddaro Ko…’’ In, turn, it elicited an enthusiastic response from cheerleaders: Goli Maaro Gaddaron Ko (Shoot the traitors)."
Home Minister Amit Shah, who is under attack from several quarters, said he had ordered stringent action and "the culprit will not be spared".
The shooting was not at the spur of the moment. It was clearly pre-meditated and scripted; in fact, the juvenile had gone live on Facebook a few hours before the incident. Videos on his timeline showed him walking around at the venue of the protest with a red backpack. His previous posts were also self-incriminating and suggest that he was well aware of 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 the massive protest against the citizenship law.
But what gave away the motive was another post which said "Chandan bhai, ye badla aapke liye hai (this revenge is for you)." Chandan was killed in a communal clash that broke out on Republic Day in 2018 in Kasganj. A man named Salim was arrested as a prime suspect for the murder. The shooter would have been 15 years old when the incident happened.
The student who was shot at has been identified as Shadab Farooq and was carted away, his left hand soaked in blood. The weapon used was a country revolver, which is good enough for firing just a single shot. Had it been more lethal, the assailant could have inflicted greater damage. He has been identified as a resident of Jewar in Uttar Pradesh
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