- Kapil Mishra claimed that the "killer" was Tahir Hussain
- Kapil Mishra has been accused of inciting violence in Delhi
- Number of deaths have gone up to 38 in northeast Delhi
BJP leader Kapil Mishra, whose pro-citizenship rally in northeast Delhi's Maujpur on Sunday afternoon has been accused of inciting violence in the national capital that has killed 38 and injured over 300, was unabashedly aggressive on Thursday evening, accusing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of involvement in the death of Intelligence Bureau (IB) employee Ankit Sharma.
Mr Mishra was quoted by news agency ANI as claiming that mobile phone records of Tahir Hussain, Mr Kejriwal's party colleague, who has also been accused of involvement in Mr Sharma's death, would prove both leaders' participation, and that of the AAP's Sanjay Singh.
"If Hussain's phone call details, during the violence, are released, it would reveal Sanjay Singh and Kejriwal's role in the violence and Ankit Sharma''s murder," he said, referring to unverified videos that purportedly show Mr Hussain on the roof of a building near Mr Sharma's residence during the violence.
"The killer is Hussain. In the video, Tahir Hussain can be seen with the masked boys carrying sticks, stones, bullets and petrol bombs. Tahir Hussain was constantly talking to Kejriwal and AAP leaders," Kapil Mishra claimed.
Mr Mishra, who has a history of making incendiary remarks, was similarly combative yesterday, hitting out at those demanding his arrest after a video of his Maujpur speech, in which he was seen giving Delhi Police an "ultimatum", was played, with those of three other BJP leaders, in the Delhi High Court.
"No questions are being asked to people talking about dividing the country or those on whose terrace petrol bombs were found (a reference to Mr Hussain). But someone who only requested for roads to be cleared, as it was inconvenience to 35 lakh people is being called a terrorist," he told reporters today.
"Some people are creating hatred against police. These include leaders and activists. This violence should end. This selective silence should end. This is false secularism and false liberalism," he said, lashing out at nationwide protests against a law many see as discriminating on the basis of religion.
Kapil Mishra's Maujpur comments were the source of a dramatic Delhi High Court hearing on Wednesday, in which Justice S Muralidhar (who was transferred out later that same night) grilled Delhi Police over the delay in filing FIRs against those who made hate speeches.
He has frequently hit out at those protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA, which offers citizenship to non-Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution. Critics say the law, which is the first time India has offered citizenship based on religion, discriminates against Muslims and violates secular principles of the Constitution.
His comments, while fiercely panned by opposition leaders, have met with silence from senior BJP leaders. A surprising exception this week was Lok Sabha MP Gautam Gambhir, who called for strict action against those making inflammatory statements.
This month, while campaigning for Assembly polls in Delhi, Mr Mishra said anti-CAA protest spots in the city were "mini-Pakistans", a comment for which the Election Commission gave him a brief ban.
The comments are consistent with those by other BJP leaders, including Union Minister Anurag Thakur, who repeatedly targeted anti-CAA protesters - like the women who have led a weeks-long peaceful agitation in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh - with hate-filled speeches.
BJP Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Verma ranted: "They will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them".
Unrelenting violence has consumed northeast Delhi for five straight days as roving mobs armed with iron rods, sticks and guns have defied police orders banning large gatherings to rampage through the streets, committing arson and vandalism and terrifying residents.
Delhi Police and the Home Ministry, to whom the cops report, have both said the situation is under control, but the violence has not abated and the death toll has climbed steadily since the first day.