Shaheen Bagh shooting
Shaheen Bagh shooting

He is not radical and is a "simple boy" but he was "tired" of travelling extra kilometres as roads are blocked due to protests at Shaheen Bagh, said family members of Kapil Gujjar, who was arrested for firing in the air at the south-east Delhi locality on Saturday, February 1. 

Two days after a youth opened fire on the anti-CAA protesters here, a similar incident happened on Saturday as a man fired bullets in the air in Shaheen Bagh area -- a key site of the protests. The police have detained the man.

No one was injured in the firing but following the incident, there was panic and anger in the area where an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protest has been underway for over a month.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Chinmoy Biswal (south-east district), the man has been identified as Kapil Gujjar, a resident of Dallupura village in east Delhi.

Soon after he fired in the air, the police overpowered and apprehended him. Bullet shells have also been recovered from the site of the firing.

'Three bullets were fired in the air'

A police officer present at the spot said: "three bullets were fired in the air". The local residents, however, claimed Kapil was overpowered by them and then handed over to the police.

He was alleged "very close to the police" when he opened fire. He was standing near the second barricade which is partially open. The Shaheen Bagh protest site has four layers of barricades.

A local resident at the protest site said: "It is a major security lapse... anything can happen here. Police are doing nothing for the security of the people here who are protesting peacefully."

'In this country, no one but Hindus can have their say'

Shaheen Bagh protests
Women stage a sit-in demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) at Shaheen Bagh.IANS

In a video tweeted by a TV channel, the shooter could be heard saying: "Iss desh mein kisi ki nahin chalegi, sirf Hinduon ki chalegi. (In this country, no one but Hindus can have their say)."

The people present at the protest site said he threatened protesters, warning them to vacate the site where they have been holding a protest against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens since December, before firing in the air.

The crowd wanted to rough up the youth but the police prevented the situation from getting out of hand. The people also raised slogans against the police.

Kapil, who owns a dairy business in Dallupura village on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, fired two rounds in the air at Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of anti-CAA protests due to which a major road connecting south Delhi to Noida is blocked for over a month now.

"On normal days it takes two hours to reach the Badarpur Dairy (in south Delhi). He had to travel just 10 kilometres. But due to the protests, he had to travel 35 kilometres and he reached home at 1 am.

"He was tired with this but definitely not that disturbed to do anything like that (shooting)," Kapil's uncle Fateh Singh said.

The Gujjar family has a small dairy unit in Dallupura and a larger one at Badarpur, and the business was getting affected as Road No 13 at Kalindi Kunj is blocked, he claimed.

"I was in my house till 12 pm and left for office after that. Till that time Kapil was in the house. Later, I received information that he fired rounds in Shaheen Bagh," Kapil's father Gaje Singh told reporters.

The family is shocked. He left without informing anyone and all thought he went to play cricket, said Singh, who had contested the assembly elections from Jangpura on a BSP ticket in 2010 but lost.

"We have no idea how he has done it, from where he procured the weapon. He is a very simple boy and never messes with anyone," he said.

Twenty-five-year-old Kapil, who has a one-year-old daughter, wanted to become a reporter, but he dropped out of college and joined the dairy business, family members said at his tow-storey house in the village.

He had joined the media course at IMS College in Delhi after passing out from a local school at Vasundhara, they said.

Kapil didn't have any "radical thoughts" or influence of any religious or political groups, his family members claimed.

'He is a simple boy who can only think about buffaloes'

"He is a simple boy who can only think about buffaloes and expanding his father's dairy business. Today at 12:30 pm he left his house after greeting me like every day.I thought he left for the dairy in Badarpur but later in the evening we learnt from news channels that he has been arrested for firing," said Satish Kumar, a relative.

He also added that a week ago the Gujjar family had to drop its plan to attend a wedding because they did not want to take a long detour to go to south Delhi.

According to a senior police officer, during Kapil's interrogation, it was learnt that he had to go to Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi and he felt very inconvenient to take a detour. This claim is being verified, the officer said.

"We suspect that he was instigated by someone at Shaheen Bagh but he was not carrying a pistol with him when he left from home. We just saw him being taken by police and later Azad Nagar police reached home for investigation," Singh said.

"Had we known Kapil was going to Shaheen Bagh we would have never let him go," he said.

The Saturday shooting incident was second at Shaheen Bagh. On Thursday, a man fired his pistol on a group of anti CAA protesters in the area, injuring a Jamia Millia Islamia University student.

'Kapil has been framed'

Kapil's brother said, "I think he has been framed. Some could have instigated him".

Kumar said the family has a "good reputation" in the village and has rented out houses to eight Muslim families.

"He has Muslim friends and they visit our home for festivals. He never had any hatred for Muslims or extremist thoughts for any religion. He didn't have any association too with political groups. His everyday routine is limited to the dairy business," he said.

Kapil or anyone in his family doesn't have any licensed or unlicensed arms, a family member said, adding that he is not a very outgoing person but maintained good relations with all residents in the village.

The Dallupura village which is a Gujjar dominated village too claims that Kapil has been framed.

On Thursday, a youth opened fire with a country-made .315 bore pistol when the Jamia students were to start their march from Jamia Millia Islamia to Rajghat. It left a journalism student, Shadab, with injuries on his arm.