(Editor's Note: It was earlier reported by news agency ANI that the man who wielded a gun in Delhi's Jaffrabad on Monday, 24 February, was arrested a day later. But a senior Delhi Police official has now confirmed to The Quint that he has not yet been arrested.)
Massive violence erupted in parts of Delhi on Monday, 24 February, as anti-Citizenship law and pro-Citizenship law protesters got into a scuffle that escalated into stone-pelting and arson resulting in the death of seven, including a policeman.
Amid the rising tension, a photograph of a man wielding a gun in Jaffrabad started doing the rounds on the internet claiming that he was a pro-CAA protester who was brandishing a gun on the streets. The man, who was later identified as Shahrukh, has been reportedly arrested by the Delhi Police.
It must be noted that his political affiliation and which group he belonged to is a matter of investigation, but contrary to the social media claims, the visuals hint at a different story.
(Catch all the live updates on Delhi violence here)
However, social media users, including politicians, were quick to jump the gun and brand him either as a ‘pro-CAA’ protester or an ‘anti-CAA’ protester.
AAP Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan shared a picture of the protester and wrote in his tweet that Delhi police is protecting such people and the person will definitely have some connection with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Another user, while quote-tweeting, alleged that these pro-CAA protesters were seen with ‘saffron flags’.
One of the many Twitter pages, which claims to be the official handle of Shaheen Bagh, also tweeted the video and alleged that the ‘pro-CAA goon opened fire in Jaffarabad (sic)’.
‘Shahrukh Was Standing on the Anti-CAA Protesters Side’
The Quint’s Aishwarya Iyer and Vakasha Sachdeva were in Jaffrabad at the time of the incident and she mapped the route of the protests. She said that on one side were the pro-CAA protesters while on the other side were the anti-CAA protesters.
According to the reporter, the stone-pelting from the pro-CAA side was happening from right behind where the police was standing.
(You can read her full report here.)
Now, remember Shahrukh could be seen pointing a gun at a police personnel, and as per Iyer’s account there was almost no police presence on the anti-CAA protesters side.
The police was present on the side of the pro-CAA protesters.
We further got in touch with PTI photojournalist Ravi Choudhary, who was present at the spot and he told The Quint, “We were standing on the pro-CAA side when I took that photo. He was on the other side and you can see that the image is also a front angle.”
According to Chaudhary, Shahrukh whisked away the police personnel and aimed at the protesters standing on the other side of the road where the pro-CAA protesters stood.
This could be established by using the visuals cues in the photograph. The picture on the left has been clicked from the pro-CAA protester side, while the picture on the right has been clicked from the anti-CAA protester side.
The man in the yellow gear has been marked to show which side was Shahrukh standing on.
...And What About the Saffron Flag?
Well, the saffron flags that many have talked about in their tweets are actually not flags but bread and milk crates that were used as a shield.
PTI released a clearer version of the picture and the crates were clearly visible.
Iyer had spoken to the locals about carrying the crates which on regular days are used for bread and milk were used as a shield.
Here’s what we found out:
- One, contrary to the claims on social media, there is enough evidence to prove that the man was standing on the side of the anti-CAA protesters and was seen pointing a gun at a cop and pro-CAA protesters.
- Two, the protesters behind him were not seen carrying saffron flags, but crates to protect themselves from the stones being pelted from both the sides.
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