Shaheen Bagh has been in the limelight since some time now. The protests at Shaheen Bagh is an ongoing 24/7 sit-in peaceful protest led by women that began after the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in both houses of Parliament on December 11, last year and the ensuing police intervention against students at Jamia Millia Islamia who were opposing the Amendment.
The protestors mainly consisting of Muslim women have blocked a major highway in New Delhi using non-violent resistance for 48 days now. As of February 1, it has now become the longest ongoing continuous protest against CAA-NRC-NPR.
The leaderless protest is not only against CAA and brutality of the police, but is also against the BJP government in general. The protesters have also supported unions opposing the government’s ‘anti-labour policies’ and have protested against recent happenings such as the 2020 JNU attack as well as shown solidarity with Kashmiri Pandits.
The protest took a violent turn when a man named Kapil Gujjar opened fire near the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh on Saturday February 1. According to eyewitnesses, Kapil shouted “Hindu Rashtra Zindabad” and fired two rounds. Kapil had threatened Shaheen Bagh warning them to vacate the premises from where they have been protesting against CAA and NRC. The shooter has since been taken into custody. The firing took place near Jasola red light. No one was injured in the incident which occurred at around 4:53 pm. Among the slogans the gunman shouted before pulling the trigger was “Dilli Police zindabad”(Long Live the Delhi Police).
While the cops claimed they overpowered the man while he was shooting, the agency said that he was overpowered by locals and handed over to the police. Kapil is a Class 12 dropout and has denied being associated with any group. The accused informed the police that he was miffed with the continous protest and wanted to frighten protestors. He used country made pistol for shooting. He has been sent to police remand for two days by Delhi Court.
Similarly, on Thursday January 30, a gunman named Rambhakt Gopal opened fire at a protest rally near Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi in front of at least 20 police personnel. A student sustained injuries in this incident. Video footage shows a phalanx of policeman looking on as the gunman waves his weapon and then opens fire. The inaction of the police seemed quite in contrast to the vigilance they have displayed towards other demonstrations in the Capital over the past six weeks, as peaceful protestors have been beaten and detained.
The protesters at Jamia were holding demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants’ from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have live in India sans documentation. They will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. On Thursday evening, the Delhi police defended their seeming inaction. Explanations have ranged from being blind sighted to claiming that the incident “happened too quickly” for the shooting to have been prevented.