- Shaheen Bagh shooter was seen in some photos with senior AAP leaders
- Kapil Gujjar's family denies AAP links, contradicts Delhi Police
- AAP hit out at Delhi Police, said it reports to Union Home Ministry
The family of the man who fired shots at the Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi last week has denied that he is linked to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), contradicting the police and intensifying the raging political fight between AAP and the BJP just three days before elections in the capital.
Last evening, the police said Kapil Gujjar, 25, who shouted "Jai Shri Ram" as he fired shots near the anti-citizenship law protest at Shaheen Bagh in south Delhi on Saturday, had confessed to being a member of AAP. They also released a photo from the shooter's phone that they said established him as an AAP member, wearing the party's trademark cap.
Despite photos in which Kapil Gujjar is seen with senior AAP leaders like Sanjay Singh and Atishi, his father and brother have denied any connection with Delhi's ruling party.
"Neither me nor my family has anything to do with AAP. They came to campaign during the Lok Sabha election (last year) and made us all wear AAP caps and that is what the photo is," Kapil's father Gaje Singh said.
"I used to be in BSP and fought an election as BSP candidate in 2012. After that I was unwell so I quit politics. We have nothing to do with politics. This time, when the BJP candidate came to campaign here, I garlanded him too like I would welcome any other candidate," he added.
Kapil Gujjar had fired two or three times in the air, standing near the spot where hundreds of women and children were sitting. While being led away, he was heard saying: "Humare desh mein sirf Hinduon ki chalegi aur kisi ki nahi (in our country only Hindus will prevail)."
Photos from Kapil's phone established that he and his father had joined AAP a year ago, said Rajesh Deo, a senior officer of the Crime Branch. Some of the photos were leaked and had been circulating earlier in the day.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh had yesterday hit out at the Delhi Police, pointing out that it reports to the home ministry headed by Amit Shah.
"At this time now, just before elections, photos and conspiracies will be found. The BJP will do as much dirty politics as they can. What does having a picture with someone mean?" he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. He also threatened to send a legal notice to the police officer who made the claim.
This morning, he retweeted the family's comments and posted in Hindi: "Your dirty politics has been revealed now, Amit Shah. listen to Kapil's family saying that he has no links with AAP and has garlanded BJP candidate. To stop this BJP conspiracy the Election Commission should intervene."
The 50-day protest at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has become a key rallying point ahead of the Delhi election on Saturday. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP have accused the BJP of running a polarizing campaign centered on Shaheen Bagh and trying to distract attention from development issues.
After the police revelation, the BJP, which has repeatedly accused AAP of engineering the anti-CAA protests and supporting them, said the party had been exposed.
"One year ago (the shooter) and his family joined AAP. Sanjay Singh is saying what does a photo mean. The photo is from when you inducted him in the party. You have been unmasked. How far will you go for dirty politics," said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Saturday's shooting - the second since another shooter fired at protesters in Jamia -- took place after a series of hate speeches from senior BJP leaders like Yogi Adityanath and union minister Anurag Thakur, who was caught encouraging slogans of "Goli maaro sa*** ko (shoot the traitors)" at a rally. BJP leaders have portrayed those protesting against the citizenship law as "traitors".