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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and His Brother Shot Dead in UP’s Prayagraj

UP's CM called for a high-level meeting at his residence, FIR filed against 3 shooters

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

INDIA: Gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed were fatally shot late Saturday while being taken for a medical checkup in Pragyraj, UP. The shooting took place inside Prayagraj’s Dhoomanganj police station just when the duo were giving statements to the media.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has established a three-member judicial probe commission and called for a high-level investigation into the incident.

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According to reports, three people started shooting at them. After killing Atiq and his brothers, the attackers were located by the Uttar Pradesh Police. The brothers were shot while being escorted by on-duty police officers. Multiple shots were fired at them from a very close range. After the shooting, the killers shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

The assailants have been identified as Sunny, Lavlesh Tiwari, and Arun Maurya. 

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The Uttar Pradesh Police said that Atiq Ahmed and his family members, including his wife Shaista Parveen, his brother Ashraf Ahmed, and his three sons, Asad, Umar, and Ali, had over 160 cases against their names.

Atiq, a former lawmaker, had five sons, one of whom, Asad, was murdered in an encounter on April 13, and his remains were buried on Saturday under tight security.

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Atiq and family members had earlier repeatedly asked for protection from the courts, stating they had been threatened and that their lives were in danger. While being held in custody for the murder of Umesh Pal, Atiq had also knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court to ask for protection.

UP on high alert 

It has been learned that the assassins were dressed as journalists, and they even had a fake camera and microphone on them. Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister, has since called a meeting with senior police officers. 

The forensic team has arrived at the scene and has begun gathering evidence there. Up to 27 gunshot casings have been found.

A state-wide alert has reportedly been issued, and the bike the gunmen rode to the crime scene has been seized. The police are on high alert, and Section 144 is in effect for the entire state of Uttar Pradesh.

“We are keeping vigil. After looking at the sensitivity of the situation in the district, we are on alert. We are talking to the public to maintain peace,” said Avinash Pandey, Mau Superintendent of Police.

Atiq’s political career 

Atiq first entered the political spotlight in 1989, when he was elected as an MLA from the former Uttar Pradesh district of Allahabad (W). He continued to hold the seat for five successive terms before running as a Samajwadi Party candidate for the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004. In the same election year, Raju Pal defeated Atiq for the state assembly seat in Allahabad (W), while the latter ran against his brother Asad. But Pal prevailed in the election.

Early in 2005, Pal was fatally shot, leaving the position open once more. This time, Ashraf defeated Puja, Pal’s wife, to win the election. Atiq was a co-accused in the murder, but Ashraf was the main suspect.

Atiq attempted to run in the 2009 UP assembly elections after his LS term had finished, which he was permitted to contest because he had not yet been found guilty in any case. But BSP refused to give him a ticket, and SP expelled him. Then, Atiq ran on an Apna Dal ticket from Pratapgarh, but he lost.

In 2012, he tried his luck once more, departing from his stronghold of Allahabad (W) with an Apna Dal ticket. Judge after judge declined to hear his case as he submitted his candidature from solitary confinement and made a request for bail. Finally, when he was released on bail in time for the elections, Raju Pal’s wife, Puja, defeated him. 

Atiq ran for the Lok Sabha from Shrawasti in 2014 after the SP welcomed him back, but the BJP candidate once more prevailed.

While Atiq was a suspect in Pal’s murder, it was the subsequent assassination of a key witness — who became more hostile purportedly because Atiq pressured him — Umesh Pal early this year that caused the state government to focus its attention once more on Atiq. 

Atiq’s string of killings

In 1979, when Atiq was only 17 years old, he was charged with his first murder. After years of political activity, Atiq’s political trajectory slowly deteriorated, and by 2014, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav had begun to distance himself from the man because of his criminal past.

In 2016, Atiq and his supporters allegedly assaulted staff members of the Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology, and Science, whose purported footage went viral at the time. According to reports, the assault happened after two students were forbidden from taking tests because they were detected cheating.

The next year, the police were instructed to detain all of the suspects, including Atiq, by the Allahabad High Court. But he was given a 14-day holdover. According to some sources, Atiq ran for the Lok Sabha from Varanasi in the 2019 elections but only received a small number of votes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In 2018, a businessman named Mohit Jaiswal stated that Atiq had assaulted him in Deoria jail. Jaiswal said that Atiq’s gang was attempting to blackmail him for money. He claimed that when he refused to give in, he was hauled to jail and severely abused. As word got out, the state administration transferred Atiq to Bareilly prison. Later, he was transferred to the Naini prison in Prayagraj.

The next year, the UP government was ordered by the Supreme Court to transfer Atiq from Naini jail to Gujarat. 

This year, in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, on February 24, Umesh Pal, the key witness in the murder of Raju Pal, was attacked and killed along with his police guard. On February 25, the police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Atiq Ahmed, his wife, Sahista Parveen, their two boys, his younger brother, Khalid Azim alias Ashraf, and others.

Late this month, he received a life sentence after being eventually found guilty in the 2006 Umesh Pal kidnapping case. That was his first conviction in more than 130 cases filed against him.

He was moved from the Sabarmati jail to Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday of last week so that he could show up in court. This came about when he requested that the Supreme Court issue directives for his safety since his life was in danger. The court stated that state machinery would handle the situation.

While securing his remand, the UP STF said in its chargesheet that Atiq admitted to having planned the Umesh Pal murder conspiracy and having connections to the ISI, but the criminal denied all of it in court, his attorneys said.

Also Read: NIA Charge-sheets Gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi, Goldy Brar, 12 Others in Terror-gangster Nexus Case


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