Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on Wednesday termed Shaheen Bagh shooter Kapil Gujjar as an Aam Aadmi Party member who was sent there by his party with the express purpose of simulating an attack by Hindu groups.
"AAP did not get him to fire at Shaheen Bagh (protesters). They got him to fire in the air. And by getting him to fire in the air, they have tried to defame Hindu organisations. They said, look, Hindu organisations are shooting at protesters. But then we got to know that they themselves are getting people to do the shooting," he told NDTV while campaigning for the upcoming Delhi elections.
Manoj Tiwari flatly denied that any political leader from the party was involved in delivering hate speeches against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. He also claimed that Union Minister Prakash Javadekar was misquoted as saying that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was a "terrorist".
"Prakash-ji was responding to Kejriwal roaming around the city streets, asking if he is a terrorist... We were just talking about his action, his behaviour, his conduct. We have not called him a terrorist. The people should decide that," he said.
The Delhi BJP chief also defended junior Finance Minister Anurag Thakur's act of raising the slogan "Desh ke gaddaron..." at a recent rally in the national capital, making agitated supporters respond with "goli maaro s****n ko". The slogan - which translates to "shoot the traitors" when taken together - was seen as a reference to protesters at Shaheen Bagh, who have become the face of protests against the controversial law since the start of last month.
"Anurag Thakur just raised a slogan, it was the public that chanted goli maaro. I am of the opinion that such slogans should not be raised. It's the BJP's belief that the country's laws are capable enough of punishing traitors. It was a heat-of-the-moment thing..." reasoned Manoj Tiwari, instead accusing Shaheen Bagh protesters of insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
At least two instances of armed people turning up at the Shaheen Bagh protests have occurred until now. A student was injured in a separate shooting by a gun-toting teenager at Jamia Nagar protest on January 30.
Moving on, the Delhi BJP chief downplayed reports of the country entering a phase of economic slowdown under the Narendra Modi government. "We have exempted people with up to Rs 5 lakh income from taxes. Where do you see any economic worries here? On incomes of up to Rs 15 lakh, we have reduced tax from 30 per cent to 20 per cent," he said.
He also contested the claim that the slump in India's economy has affected the country's standing on the global arena. "The world is happy with Narendra Modi. (If things are really that bad) why is the world happy with Narendra Modi? Why is Trump is listening to my Prime Minister from the front row? Why?" he questioned.
Delhi will go to vote on Saturday, and the results will be announced three days later.