New Delhi: Two day after a youth fired a pistol at a group of anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Milia University, another man on Saturday fired two rounds in the air at Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of the protest against the country's new citizenship law, and was later taken into custody.
Hours after the shooting, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal directed police to enhance security, including putting up more barricades at the protest site, to prevent outsiders from creating trouble.
Women and children of all ages have been protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh since December.
No one was injured in the incident that came as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was addressing a poll rally in Delhi's northwest Rohini, claimed that those who support terrorists in Kashmir are staging protest at Shaheen Bagh.
Eyewitnesses said that the man, who identified himself as Kapil Gujjar, opened fire close to the police barricades, nearly 250m behind the stage. He was overpowered by police and locals and taken into custody. There were no immediate reports of any casualties or injuries.
This is the second time this week that an armed man has entered the site where the protest against the CAA has been on since over a month.
Gujjar chanted Jai Shri Ram and said, "Humare desh me aur kisi ki nahi chalegi, sirf Hindu ki chalegi (only Hindus shall have a say in our country, no one else)," as he was taken into custody by the Delhi Police.
Abu Ala Suhani, a publisher and resident of Shaheen Bagh, said, "The man appeared be in his 20s and fired two rounds. While he was being taken into custody, we heard a policeman asking him his name. The man said his name was Kapil Gujjar and he belongs to Dallupura village in Uttar Pradesh."
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Chinmoy Biswal said, "The accused fired in air near police barricades. He was overpowered by police personnel and taken into custody. Further investigation is on."
The police said they are verifying his identity.
The incident comes days after a local contractor armed with a gun had come to the site and asked the people to end the protest. It also comes two days after a minor was arrested from outside Jamia Millia Islamia for firing at an anti-CAA protester in police view. The opposition parties had then accused junior finance minister Anurag Thakur for inciting the attack with his ‘goli maaro saalon ko’ slogan at a Delhi election rally.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) repeated its allegation that the Shaheen Bagh and Jamia incidents are attempts by the BJP to create law and order problems in Delhi ahead of the February 8 elections.
“We had alerted the Election Commission... There is a conspiracy being hatched by the BJP to postpone elections in Delhi by creating a law and order situation,” said party leader Sanjay Singh.
A woman protester who didn't wish to be named said the incident has created panic among them as well as children.
"Many women and children were inside the tent when the incident occurred. We rushed to the spot after hearing a gunshot. Everyone is scared. But we won't leave the spot," she said.
Even after the shooting, many people thronged Shaheen Bagh site to express solidarity with the protesters. Many of them sung the national anthem while others offered namaz there. The protesters also raised slogans against the Delhi Police.
(With inputs from PTI)