All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, had a close call on Thursday, 3 February, as shots were fired at his vehicle near a toll-plaza in Uttar Pradesh. Owaisi was en route to Delhi after attending an event in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut when the incident took place.
The police on Friday, 4 February, said that two people, Sachin Sharma and Shubham, had been arrested for their alleged involvement in the case.
According to the police, Sachin Sharma and Shubham said that they carried out the act upon being hurt by purportedly 'anti-Hindu statements' of Owaisi and were 'Hardcore Hindus'.
Sharma had also allegedly posted pictures of him posing with BJP workers on his Facebook account, shared videos of the controversial Hindu leader Yati Narsinghand and also expressed support for Ram Bhakt Gopal, who had shot at anti-CAA protesters in Delhi in 2020.
Police Recovered An Unlicensed Pistol From Sachin
Sachin Sharma, the main accused, is a resident of Badalpur in Gautam Buddh Nagar and was arrested from the spot. Police said an unlicensed pistol had also been recovered from him. The police also seized a white Maruti Alto car from him. Officials said Sharma, too, was angry with Owaisi over his speeches.
"We found that there one case filed against Sachin under section 307 (Attempt to Murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Badalpur police station in Noida. It was later found to be false and final report was filed. Sachin is a hardcore Hindu. He (Sachin) used to follow the speeches made by the members of MIM party on social media. That's how he got radicalised," Hapur ASP Sarvesh Mishra later told The Quint.
"He was upset about the statements made by AIMIM on Ram Mandir. They used to follow the AIMIM officials on social media. Sachin went to Meerut and Kithore. He tried to find an opportunity to attack him (Owaisi) in Kithore as well," Mishra added.
Meanwhile, Saharanapur SP Rural Atul Sharma said on Friday that Shubham had surrendered to the police in Ghaziabad.
"One person has surrendered in Ghaziabad. After investigating, we found out that his name is Shubham, son of a certain Pramod. He is a resident of Shanpla Begampur village, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Nakur police station in Saharanpur. His parents are no more," Saharanapur SP Rural Atul Sharma said.
"He has one sister who is married and lives in the NCR region. He hardly stays in his village and only visits it once a while. He mainly lives at some other place. We are investigating to know who all he is in touch with here," he added.
Sharma Can Be Seen Posing With BJP Functionaries on His FB Account
According to The Indian Express, Sachin Sharma can be seen posing with BJP functionaries on his Facebook account.
Sharma had also shared a video of Yati Narsinghanand on his Facebook page. Narsinghanad was recently arrested for his hate speech in Haridwar.
In one of his posts, Sharma expressed solidarity with Ram Bhakt Gopal, who had shot at anti-CAA protesters in Delhi in 2020.
What Happened on Thursday?
On Thursday, taking to Twitter, Owaisi shared a visual of the bullets on his car and wrote that four rounds were fired. Thereafter, he added:
"There were 3-4 people, all of them ran away and left the weapons there. My car got punctured, but I got out in another car and left. We are all safe. Alhamdu'lilah."
Owaisi had said that he was leaving for Delhi after a poll event in Kithore, Meerut (UP), when the firing took place. He further said that the tyres of his vehicle were punctured.
Owaisi has also reportedly requested the election commission to order an independent inquiry into the shooting incident.
The incident comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, which are slated to take place early this month. Owaisi had, on 22 January, announced an alliance with Babu Singh Kushwaha and Bharat Mukti Morcha.
Meanwhile, the central government has reviewed Owaisi's security and provided him with Z category security of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with immediate effect, news agency ANI reported, quoting sources.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and ANI.)