Who could have hurled petrol bombs at Shaheen Bagh protest?

Bikeborne miscreant hurls flaming projectiles at historic protest site

petrol bomb

Even as all peaceful civil protests against the CAA, NRC, and NPR, in Delhi, and other parts of the country, have suspended their sit-ins in view of the CoronaVirus pandemic, anti-social makers have begun seeing this lull at the protest site as an opportunity to create disturbances.

On Sunday morning, as Shaheen Bagh protest, which has now gone symbolic with less than five women at the sit in, was targeted with glass-bottle petrol bombs. The petrol-bombs were thrown at the police barricades that have been erected some distance away from the tent where the protesters sit. The attacker(s) have not been identified yet. The area has a regular police, and paramilitary presence, and has been under constant surveillance.

The lockdown on Sunday has resulted in deserted roads, and neighbourhoods as most people have been indoors most of the day. It appears that the miscreants took advantage of the fact that not many will be at the protest site for the first time since it began nearly 100 days ago. According to medi areports, the attacker came on a motorcycle and threw the bombs, but thankfully no one was hit, and no injuries were reported.

Some reports also said that another crude bomb was thrown near the Jamia Milia University area. Students protesting peacefully at the Jamia University gates had already suspended their protest yesterday to help stall the spread of Covid-19. This area is a few kilometers away from Shaheen Bagh. 

According to information shared by the Jamia Coordination Committee, “Some miscreants fired and threw Petrol Bomb at a Protest Site at Jamia Square, Gate No. 7, Jamia Millia Islamia. As per CCTV Footage, He has a Get up of Delivery Boy with a Helmet and has Three Bags on his Bike, due to which the Number Plate of the Bike was not visible. Police have taken away Bullet, while Pieces of Glass Bottle still lies here. (sic)”

“Two people were seen on a bike near the barricades, we are checking the CCTV footage for detailed investigation,” senior police officer Kumar Gyanesh told NDTV. It appears that the police have already floated a theory on who the attackers could be. Police have told journalists that this attack could be a result of an ‘internal feud’.

The Indian Express quotes Kumar Gyanesh, Additional DCP (Southeast) as saying, “Prima facie..it was one of the protesters who hurled the bombs. There have been clashes amongst the protesters regarding the protest since yesterday. Last night, we received a call about a fight there and had to intervene.” 

This theory evolves from the now known factor that there have been many discussions, and disagreements between various groups at Shaheen Bagh over suspending the protest in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. Though by Saturday evening almost all protests went off the roads. Shaheen Bagh women continued their protest in a symbolic manner with all health and physical distance precautions to guard again Covid-19, in place. Police told reporters  that the crude bombs were thrown from the road opposite the site and ‘only locals’ can access it from the lanes that run through the dense residential colonies, as that is the only way to avoid the manned police barricades. 

However, those lanes are accessible to anyone visiting from outside too. As any police persons, and crime reporters know, miscreants are known to map areas well ahead before they actually attack. 

Areas like Shaheen Bagh, and Jamia are densely populated, and commercially busy zones, they have a web of internal lanes, apart from public roads, metro lines, bus routes. All usually buzzing with human, and vehicular traffic but Sunday morning was an exception due to the  unofficial lockdown. 

Protest sites, even if they are symbolic and deserted, continue to be soft targets, and peaceful protestors remain vulnerable.



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