Shaheen Bagh shooter Kapil Gujjar joins BJP, expelled two hours later
Kapil Gujjar, the man who allegedly fired at least two shots in the air close to New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh in February and warned anti-CAA protestors assembled there to disperse, formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, only to be thrown out less than two hours later when the local unit of the party realised who he was.
Functionaries of the BJP said Gujjar joined the party together with his supporters at the city unit’s office in the Nehru Nagar area in a ceremony where sweets were distributed and his admission to the party was cheered.
“Today, Kapil Gujjar joined with hundreds of his supporters and he has influence in his area. The youth have joined the party as they like our party’s policies; the way our Prime Minister works; the way our chief minister Yogi Adityanath ji works and also the way our state president Swatantra Dev Singh ji is working to strengthen the party,” Sanjeev Sharma, president of the BJP’s city unit, told reporters.
“These youth were working for Hindutva and were working in other parties. But today they all came under one flag and met the state president who directed me to arrange for their joining,” Sharma added.
Near the Shaheen Bagh protest site on February 1, Gujjar fired at least two shots in the air from a pistol, warned protestors against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to disperse and shouted communal slogans. The police registered a case against him under the Arms Act; he received bail from a city court on March 7.
On Wednesday, the city unit of he BJP was caught on the back foot when news of Gujjar’s entry into the party went viral on social media.
Sharma hurriedly released a statement that said some members claiming to be from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had approached the BJP for admission and Kapil Gujjar was among them. He said Gujjar’s link with the Shaheen Bagh controversy hadn’t been known to the party, and once it came to light, the state leadership directed the city unit to cancel his membership with immediate effect.
“He came with his supporters at around 2pm for joining. We had no clue about the controversy related to Shaheen Bagh. So by 4pm, we cancelled his joining and also of others who came with him. We got directions for cancellation from our senior leaders,” Sharma said.
He didn’t reply when asked whether the BJP had checked Gujjar’s credentials before he was admitted.
BSP district president Kuldeep Kumar said Gujjar and the others who joined the BJP were neither the party’s members nor its supporters. “The BJP unit is trying to drag our party’s name into controversy due to frustration as their act (Gujjar’s admission) came to light. We have absolutely no connection with Gujjar whatsoever,” he added.
Gujjar had said at his admission ceremony that he wished to do “big for Hindutva”.
“The BJP is strengthening Hindutva and wants to take it forward. Most of the works are for mostly for Hindus. I also want to work for Hindutva and want to do big,” Gujjar told reporters.
BJP’s Uttar Pradesh state spokesperson Chandra Mohan noted that the Ghaziabad unit had immediately cancelled the membership of Gujjar and his associates after coming to know of the Shaheen Bagh controversy. “At the party level, we are conducting an inquiry of all people attached to Gujjar’s joining and suitable action will be taken,” Chandra Mohan added.
Delhi police officers said on Wednesday that they were yet to file a charge sheet in the case against Gujjar because they were still awaiting the forensic report on the bullets and the pistol he used. Deputy commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Pawaria said: “The forensic report pertaining to the firearm that was used in the offence is still awaited. The probe is still on.”