Ex-MP Atiq Ahmed, brother shot dead on live TV in India

A former member of India’s Parliament convicted of kidnapping has been shot dead on live TV in Prayagraj, the northern city of Uttar Pradesh, while in police custody with his brother, raising questions about the rule of law in the state.

On Saturday, the police were escorting Atiq Ahmed and former state legislator Ashraf Ahmed to the hospital for a medical examination when individuals pretending to be journalists opened fire, discharging several rounds.

Three suspects quickly surrendered to the police after at least one of them, chanting the slogan “Ram Lord Shri Jai” or “Ram Lord Hail,” became a battle cry for Hindu nationalists in their campaign against Muslims.

Police did not mention if they were examining a potential sectarian intention in the homicides. The two individuals who lost their lives belonged to India’s Muslim minority.

I am shocked by the brazen anarchy and total collapse of law & order in Uttar Pradesh.

It is shameful that perpetrators are now taking the law in their own hands, unfazed by the police and media presence.

Such unlawful acts have no place in our constitutional democracy.

— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 16, 2023

Police officer Ramit Sharma informed The Associated Press news agency that the three attackers arrived on motorcycles and pretended to be journalists.

He stated, “Both suffered gunshot wounds to the head.” “They successfully approached Atiq and his brother under the pretense of capturing a soundbite and shot at them from a short distance.”

“It all occurred within seconds,” Sharma stated.

Another police officer, Prashant Kumar, informed the Agence France-Presse news agency that the assailants are currently under interrogation.

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Uttar Pradesh the state from hails trio The Singh Sunny and Maurya Arun Tiwari Lavlesh as attackers the identified have police The.

‘Police incompetence’

Last month, Ahmed Atiq had stated in a petition to India’s top court that his life was under threat from the police in the state ruled by the nationalist Hindu party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Mishra, Vijay’s lawyer, stated that the shooting was shocking because it clearly indicates a failure on the part of the police in ensuring the safety of his clients.”

Mother of all failures in mother of democracy! https://t.co/cbY32b3Dvn

— Nirupama Subramanian (@tallstories) April 16, 2023

Atiq’s son Asad Ahmed, 19, and a partner, who had both been charged with a recent homicide, were fatally shot by law enforcement several days after the incident, which was referred to as a shootout.

He allegedly encountered over 100 legal cases. In 2004, he secured a seat in India’s Parliament and served as a local legislator on four occasions. Following his conviction for the abduction of Atiq Ahmed, a 60-year-old individual, he was imprisoned in 2019.

In recent years, more than 180 people facing charges have been killed by police groups in Uttar Pradesh, which is often referred to as extrajudicial executions violating human rights.

In 2019, experts from the United Nations raised concerns about alleged police killings in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India with a population of 200 million.

Hundreds of politicians belonging to parties across India, nearly half of whom are ministers, are suspected of criminal activities and have pending criminal cases against them, according to the independent Association for Democratic Reforms.

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In 2017, following the ascension of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in Uttar Pradesh, charges against the chief minister of the state, Yogi Adityanath, were dropped.

Forensic officials examine the spot where Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed were shot dead
Forensic officials examine the spot where Atiq Ahmed, accused in several criminal cases, and his brother Ashraf Ahmed were shot dead in Prayagraj on April 15, 2023. [Ritesh Shukla/Reuters]

‘Breach of legal principles’

After the shootings, gatherings of more than four individuals were prohibited on Sunday throughout the crime-infested northern region.

Adityanath instructed a probe into the killings, which have ignited anger among leaders of the opposition.

Atiq is the second Muslim ex-MP who was murdered with impunity. Ehsan Jaffry was ruthlessly hacked to death by a mob in Gujarat in 2002 and today it’s Atiq. Shot and killed in police custody.

— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) April 16, 2023

Said leader of the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav: “High is criminals the of morale and UP in peak its reached has crime.”.

When someone can be openly killed by firing amid the security cordon of the police, what is the general public’s concern about the safety?

Mayawati, the former chief minister and Dalit leader, expressed her concerns about the killing, asking the Supreme Court to take this “highly grave and concerning” incident into consideration.

“It raises significant concerns about the law and order of the Uttar Pradesh government and its manner of operation,” she stated.

Priyanka Gandhi, a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress party, also emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law.

The Congress general secretary expressed, “Our democratic system is unsuitable for any political agenda that involves manipulating or breaching the rule of law and the judicial process; rather, it should adhere to the legal framework of the country, ensuring that criminals receive the most severe penalties.”

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