The brazen homicide of an Indian mafia don-turned-politician

Atiq Ahmad (C ) is taken to Sessions court in Allahabad on April 13 2023.

Atiq Ahmed, a former MP and convicted prison, was killed on Saturday evening

It was throughout in lower than a minute.

Footage from Saturday evening reveals mafia don-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed getting out from the again of a police jeep close to a hospital within the metropolis of Prayagraj, often known as Allahabad.

A heavy set man, Ahmed, a former MP and convicted prison, is helped down by a policeman and his brother Ashraf. The brothers are being led by a sequence connected to their handcuffs.

As they begin strolling, surrounded by a hoop of police constables, native TV reporters besiege them – amongst them are gunmen pretending to be journalists.

A second later, a gun is pulled near his head, his white turban detaches from his head as he collapses to the bottom. A second later, his brother can also be shot.

Two gunmen and one other man instantly give up to the police.

The Uttar Pradesh state authorities has ordered an investigation, however Saturday night’s on-line homicide has unleashed a torrent of criticism from main native and nationwide politicians who say it reveals the legislation and order has been damaged down there.

Lawyer and politician Kapil Sibal mentioned there had been “two murders” in Uttar Pradesh – “one, of Atiq and brother Ashraf and two, of Rule of Legislation”.

Vikram Singh, former basic director of Uttar Pradesh’s state police, advised the BBC that Ahmad’s homicide was unacceptable. “Demise in custody is dangerous sufficient, homicide is worse,” he mentioned.

A forensic team at the murder spot

A forensic group examined the spot the place the Ahmed brothers have been killed

To say Ahmed was a controversial man is an understatement.

The 60-year-old was born in a poor household in Prayagraj and was a college dropout, however over time he amassed large wealth, loved political patronage and energy and got here to wield immense affect within the metropolis of his beginning and past.

Beginning in 1989, he was elected 5 occasions as a legislator to the state meeting from town, and was additionally elected to the parliament from Phulpur constituency in 2004.

Mr Singh describes him as a kind of “Robin Hood, a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde kind of character” who “spend lavishly to assist poor individuals – paying for weddings, giving them cash throughout Eid festivals, and serving to poor girls purchase faculty uniforms and books for his or her kids”.

However this persona was unraveled as Ahmed was accused of kidnappings, murders, extortion and land grabs.

Greater than 100 circumstances have been registered in opposition to him and he was mentioned to be concerned in as many extra “however the victims have been too afraid to lodge complaints”, he added.

Over twenty years Ahmed had spells in jail however he maintained his sway over Uttar Pradesh’s underworld and ensured his males have been protected.

However after the regional Samajwadi Social gathering severed ties with him and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Social gathering got here to energy within the state that Ahmed’s affect started to wane.

He was arrested for assault in 2017 and was later moved to a jail within the western state of Gujarat.

The latest motion in opposition to him began in February when footage emerged displaying a gaggle of males killing Umesh Pal, a key witness within the 2005 homicide of Raju Pal, a lawmaker belonging to the regional Bahujan Samaj Social gathering. The Ahmed brothers had been accused of involvement in Pal’s homicide.

The February homicide caught on video set in movement a sequence of occasions that has left Ahmed and a number of other members of his household and supporters useless, his spouse on the run with a bounty on her head, two of his sons in jail and the remaining two sons who’re minors in authorities safety houses.

Ahmed was dropped at Prayagraj to face expenses within the case after India’s Supreme Court docket final month declined to listen to his petition alleging that there was a menace to his life from the police. His brother was additionally dropped at town from a jail in one other district within the state.

On Thursday, his 19-year-old son Asad and an aide have been killed by the police in a so-called encounter – with accusations of flying that they have been shot useless in a deliberate execution.

Many components of Prayagraj have been a ghost city on Sunday morning. The principle bazaars within the outdated metropolis – normally buzzing with exercise right now of the 12 months as Muslims have a good time the competition of Eid – have been abandoned.

Police vans and officers are deployed on virtually each road. Web companies are down in most components. And locals are reluctant to speak to the media or say something concerning the murders.

A 40-year-old Muslim man, who did not need to be named, advised the BBC that individuals have been shocked.

“How can someone be killed in entrance of the media and the police? He was a convicted prison I agree, however that does not imply he will be shot like that. What concerning the rule of legislation?” he requested.

“Many people are questioning if he was killed as a result of he was a Muslim. I do not know if that is true, however this incident has terrified town. We deserve higher.”

Mahant Raju Das, head of the Hanumangadhi temple within the city of Ayodhya, nonetheless, mentioned that such incidents shouldn’t be checked out by way of a sectarian lens.

“Criminals shouldn’t have faith or caste. I attraction to all politicians to not have a look at crime by way of a Hindu-Muslim lens,” he mentioned, including that “it’s a regrettable incident and raises questions on legislation and order state of affairs within the state” .

“There are nonetheless so many mafias within the state. However they should not be killed like this, they need to be saved in jail so they need to notice their sins.”

Further reporting by Ankit Srinivas from Prayagraj

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