Two Hindu Nationalists who fired at Jamia students and Shaheen Bagh protesters

Gopal Sharma (left) and Kapil Gujjar (right)

Gopal, 17

A gunman has fired at an anti-CAA protest rally of students near the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university in capital New Delhi on Thursday. The assailant, identified by the police as a 17-year-old teenager, brandished a single-barrel weapon and shouted slogans against the protesters before firing at them, wounding a Kashmiri student on Thursday.

Name: Gopal Sharma

Age: 17

Residency: He is a resident of the Jewar neighbourhood of Gautam Buddha Nagar district in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Attire: A photograph taken by the Reuters news agency showed him, dressed in a black jacket and brandishing a single-barrel weapon, standing meters away from dozens of policemen deployed outside the university.

Moments before firing: He was shouting, ‘Delhi Police Zindabad’ [long live Delhi police] and ‘Who wants Aazadi [freedom], come, I’ll shoot you’.” In the videos capturing the attack, the man can be seen yelling ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘ye lo azadi‘ while asking protesters to chant ‘Vande Mataram‘ if they want to live in India.

Faith: Gopal’s Facebook page, now suspended by Facebook India, showed that he called himself a “Rambhakt” (devotee of Lord Ram).

Political affiliations: His Facebook account also revealed his apparent hatred towards Muslims and his associations with the Hindu militant and nationalist organisations including BJP.

Gopal’s Facebook profile suggested he is a member of Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Social Media Profile: He was live on Facebook just before the attack, the page showed.

Hours before he shot at the JMI student, Gopal made several posts on his Facebook page, in which he threatened the protesters and asked his friends to follow his activities.

Koi Hindu media nahin hai yahan‘ (No Hindu media here), “Main yahan akela Hindu hoon” (I am the only Hindu here), he posted on Facebook.

“Shaheen Bagh, tera khel khatm (your game is over),” read one of his posts.

In another Facebook post on Thursday, Gopal wrote: “Meri antim yatra pe mujhe bhagwa me le jaiye aur Jai Shri Ram ke naare hon (On my final journey, drape me in saffron clothes and chant Hail Lord Ram).”

Gopal posted on January 28, “Dhyan de. 31st tarik tak meri posto ko nazar andaaz na kare” (Attention! Don’t ignore my posts till the 31st).

Police inaction and action: Delhi Police stood, arms folded, and at a distance while Gopal fired at students. Soon after firing, the shooter was taken into custody.

Inspiration: The shooting came just days after BJP leader and India’s minister of state for finance, Anurag Thakur, encouraged his supporters at a state election rally in New Delhi to chant slogans, calling for “traitors to be shot”.

Kapil Gujjar, 25

Two days after Gopal shot a student in the capital city, another firing has been reported at Shaheen Bagh protest site. No protester was wounded after a man fired a gun at Shaheen Bagh protesters.

Name: Kapil Gujjar

Age: 25

Residency: Kapil Gujjar is a resident of Dallupura village on the outskirts of Delhi.

Moments before firing: He shouted “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Ram) as he fired two to three shots. Kapil also shouted: “Only Hindus will prevail in this country. This country is ours.”

As per the eyewitnesses, he also shouted “Hindu Rashtra Zindabad” 

Police inaction and action: witness saying the gunman fired at the protesters, “while police officers were standing just behind him”.

Inspiration: The shooting came just days after BJP leader and India’s minister of state for finance, Anurag Thakur, encouraged his supporters at a state election rally in New Delhi to chant slogans, calling for “traitors to be shot”.

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