Gopal Sharma, who came to be noticed after he shot at anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters at Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia university last year, was arrested by the Haryana Police on Monday for allegedly making communal speeches at Pataudi in Gurugram.
Manesar Deputy Commissioner of Police, Varun Singla told PTI that Sharma was arrested for allegedly making communal speeches at a mahapanchayat held in Pataudi and sent to judicial custody. Singla also confirmed to the news agency that Sharma was the same person who had opened fire at a group of anti-CAA protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia in 2020 that left student injured.
Sharma, a 19-year-old man and a self-styled Hindutva activist who calls himself Rambhakt Gopal, had in his mahapanchayat speech encouraged the crowd to abduct Muslim women and “warned” those with a “terrorist mindset” that if he could “go to Jamia in support of CAA”, “Pataudi is not very far”.
The mahapanchayat, which took place on July 4, had been organised to discuss religious conversion, ‘Love Jihad’, and the population control law. The gathering was also attended by Haryana BJP spokesperson and Karni Sena president Suraj Pal Amu.
Sharma has been arrested based on an FIR that was registered against him at Pataudi police station a week after the mahapanchayat for promoting enmity, insulting a religion and its beliefs. The FIR was registered under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, or residence) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code, DCP Singla had earlier told the Indian Express.
With a gun in his hand, Sharma had walked up to a gathering of protesters including students of Jamia Millia Islamia who were demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act on January 30, 2020. “Yeh lo azadi” (take your freedom), he had reportedly shouted as he fired his gun at the crowd and the Delhi Police personnel posted at the spot looked on.
Soon after, he was taken away by the police from there. Sharma was reported to be a minor aged 17 at the time and was sent to 28-day protective custody in a correctional facility by the Juvenile Justice Board. However, being a minor, his name and the legal details of his case were kept confidential.