Outside Jamia following the shooting. A protest was also held at ITO. (Express photo: Abhinav Saha)
A line of barricades, police personnel in riot gear, a Delhi Police water cannon truck on standby, and a sea of national flags held high by students — till Thursday night, Jamia remained on edge. Students made it clear that they will not be scared into stopping protests against CAA, and also demanded action against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur for their recent chants of “goli maaro”.
In the afternoon, a Jamia student was shot at by an armed assailant while he was marching with a group of students heading to Rajghat, as it was Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. The accused allegedly shouted “yeh lo Azadi”. In the evening, a protester held a poster that read "Anurag Thakur badhai ho, tumhaare gunde goli chala rahe hai.”
A management student Nayla Khan said, “When you go on a mic and say ‘desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko’, people who are supporting you will be provoked."
Farhat Zahra, a school student, said the shooting was done specifically to scare students. “They think if they shoot, we will get scared and run away. They think we will stop protesting, but that is not going to happen. We are not scared,” she said.
A class XII student, Hussain, said, “They’ve repeated history. On this day, Nathuram Godse killed Gandhi, and now his followers have attacked students who believe in Gandhi’s ideology.”
The students’ resolve was unbreakable and repeated pleas to retreat by the university’s chief proctor and the Imam of Jamia Masjid were not heeded. As the Imam of Jamia Masjid, Qari Mohammad Suleman Qasmi, said, “The atmosphere is not good. Looking at the condition, we should retreat,” students replied with a resounding “no”.
The number of protesters swelled, posters calling out the state and police were brought out, slogans chanted, and speeches were made. The number of police personnel too increased. Some protesters climbed on top of barricades with the national flag and demanded accountability from the police.
The Indian Express witnessed some protesters being lathi-charged by police personnel late evening. The pushing and shoving continued as protesters demanded they be given permission to march till Rajghat. At least eight protesters, including three women, were detained by police personnel from Jamia.
Late evening, Joint CP (Southern range) Devesh Srivastava took a loudspeaker and made an announcement about filing an FIR under the Arms Act and for attempt to murder.
An hour later, a group of students asked him for permission to march till the Parliament on February 9. “Every time we ask for permission, but we never get it... on three occasions you beat up students, now we are asking for permission for a peaceful march. We will form a human chain and ensure no violence happens. Why would you let someone like Kapil Mishra do his rally while we can’t? Why can’t you be cooperative like Mumbai Police?” the students asked him. The officer, meanwhile, reiterated that the protesters will have to apply for permission.
At the protest, students from other universities also showed up. Asif Ali, a law student from Delhi University, said, “Anurag Thakur is a minister, not a small leader. If he says ‘goli maaro’, people listen to him all over the country. Today when a student is shot, it is his doing. It’s a direct result of his speech.”