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New Delhi: Minutes after a lone gunman, who identified himself as Rambhakt Gopal, opened fire at people protesting the citizenship law near Delhi's Jamia Millia University, Hyderabad politician Asaduddin Owaisi challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "identify him by his clothes".

The comment was a reference to a remark by PM Modi in which he targeted those opposing the citizenship law, which critics say discriminates against Muslims, and claimed "you can easily make out who is spreading violence by the clothes they wear".

In a series of sharply-worded tweets the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief also hit out at Union Minister Anurag Thakur, who was handed a 72-hour ban today by the Election Commission this afternoon for making hate speeches while campaigning for next month's Delhi election.

"@ianuragthakurvv & all the 9 PM nationalists who have created so much hatred in this country that a terrorist shoots a student while cops watch," Mr Owaisi wrote.

"Hi @PMOIndia .. identify him by his clothes," he added.

Last month the Prime Minister hit out at the Congress and other opposition parties for allegedly instigating violence against and spreading lies on the citizenship law. Addressing a rally in Jharkhand, he accused the party and its supporters of "spreading fire... when not heard they spread arson".

"You can easily make out who is spreading violence by the clothes they wear," PM Modi added.

The Congress has also reacted to the incident, with the party targeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah - under whose ministry control of Delhi Police rolls up - and accusing the BJP-led centre of making "an armed militia of radicalised youth".

"What kind of police force is Amit Shah running? Delhi police is standing idly by as a man shoots at peaceful protestors," the party tweeted, adding, "Is this what BLP leaders like MoS Finance, Anurag Thakur intended? Creating an armed militia of radicalised youth".

Mr Owaisi also hit out at Delhi Police, who came in for fierce criticism after reacting violently to what started as a peaceful anti-citizenship law protest by Jamia students last month.

"What happened to the bravado that you showed in #Jamia last month? If there's a prize for being 'helpless' bystanders, you'd win it every time," the AIMIM chief said, tearing into the cops.

Over 60 people were injured - including a student who lost sight in his left eye after cops attacked him - in clashes that included the cops barging in to the Jamia campus and brutally assaulting students inside the library before leading them away with hands on their heads.

Delhi Police were also criticised for their conduct during the brutal mob attack on JNU students and staff earlier this month; a JNU students union official claimed the cops had been on campus prior to the attack but did nothing to stop a three-hour rampage that left 34 people injured.

In dramatic visuals of today's incident Rambhakt Gopal, wearing a black jacket and a pair of white trousers, can be seen walking down a heavily-guarded road sand waving a gun as he shouts "Yeh lo aazadi (here's your freedom)".

Ram Bhakt Gopal stood meters away from dozens of policemen deployed outside the university, where protesters gathered for a march against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Mr Owaisi and the Congress were joined in their condemnation of the attack by Iltija Mufti, the daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who has been in detention since the centre's contentious decision on Article 370 in August last year.

Reminding people that this shocking attack comes on the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary, Ms Mufti (who now operates her mother's Twitter account), said: "India's transition from a democracy to a mobocracy seems complete".

The CAA is a controversial law that makes religion, for the first time, the test of citizenship. The government says it will help non-Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution from three Muslim-dominated countries. However, critics say it violates secular tenets of the Constitution.

Thousands, including students in multiple cities and towns across the country, have taken to the streets since last month to protest the law.
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