Arvind Kejriwal, reacting to allegations that the man who fired shots at the Shaheen Bagh protest is an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member, today accused Home Minister Amit Shah of "using the police" in a "petty conspiracy" to target his party 48 hours before voting for the Delhi election.
The Delhi Chief Minister also referred to the shooter's family denying any links with AAP but said if he was found to be linked to his party, his punishment should be doubled.
"Do you think we are capable of planning such a shooting? His family has said he has nothing to do with AAP. Such petty stunts 48 hours before elections... Anyone can tell they are using the police before the polls," Mr Kejriwal said.
The family of the shooter, Kapil Gujjar, has denied any links with AAP or politics.
Last evening, the police had said Kapil Gujjar, who shouted "Jai Sri 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.
"So what if there are photos? What do photos prove," AAP's Sanjay Singh had questioned.
The 50-day protest at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has taken centre-stage in the acrimonious Delhi election campaign. Mr Kejriwal and his AAP have accused the BJP of running a polarizing campaign starring Shaheen Bagh and of 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".