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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 17, April 22, 2023

Who would unravel the conspiracy behind Atiq’s killing? | Faraz Ahmad

Saturday 22 April 2023, by Faraz Ahmad


“Mafia, who were a threat earlier, are themselves facing threat” announced Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath proudly, smacking his lips with tremendous confidence and satisfaction, on the third day after former Samajwadi Party MP and a presumed mafia don of Allahabad was shot dead, handcuffed in police custody along with his brother Ashraf in a similar state alongside, accompanied by a police contingent, by three young men. According to a prominent English daily, the UP Chief Minister stated this while addressing the Investors Summit in Lucknow on April 18. The same newspaper reported the same day how Luvlesh Tiwari from Banda, one of the assailants, was associated with the Bajrang Dal, and a notable leader of the ‘Brahman samaj”, reporting simultaneously that a local Bajrang Dal leader denied this.

Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf Ahmad were gunned down at point-blank range in the crowded city area a stone’s throw from Nakhas Kona, for anyone familiar with Allahabad topography, a typical Muslim area, around 10.30 pm outside the Colvin Hospital on April 16. The three boys armed with sophisticated 9 mm pistols of Turkish make, pretending to be TV journalists, carrying mikes came close to Atiq and Ashraf, one of them later described by the police as Lovlesh Tiwari from Banda put the gun on Atiq’s head, and fired, felling him in one shot on the ground while another fired similarly at his brother Ashraf who too crumbled similarly. Strangely though the two were handcuffed, in the normal course the policemen to whose arms or belt their handcuffs were attached should have also been dragged down along with them. Instead, we see the policemen run helter, skelter in this commotion and soon as they gather their nerves they rush towards the boys who had thrown their weapons and surrendered meekly raising “Jai Shri Ram” slogan as they were escorted by the police.

It is also reported that neither Atiq nor Ashraf who were kept in the lock-up at the concerned Police station for two nights had complained of any health issues though at least Atiq was severely diabetic. Besides, except for some Emergency services, no departments are open that late at night for completing the necessary medical check-up to rule out any excesses in Police custody. Moreover, the doctors at Colvin Hospital stated that they had no information of the impending visit of Atiq and Ashraf in Police custody. In fact, the Hospital superintendent told newsmen later that neither were they informed nor was the hospital equipped so late at night without prior information to conduct such a thorough medical check-up.

The three accused; Luvlesh a bad character from Banda, associated with Brahman Samaj and claiming to be a member of Bajrang Dal, Mohit from Hamirpur and Arun Kumar Maurya from Kasganj but living in Panipat were all three from poor families and had got into small-time criminal activities. They seemed to have no past association or intimacy. How did they then plan this murder? But the trio did stay together in a hotel the previous night. Who paid for the hotel and who paid them lakhs of rupees to procure those expensive pistols described as worth 4-5 lakh each or simply gave these with the cartridge rounds because they fired several rounds? Significantly with a perfect aim not to harm a single policeman nor a group of TV crew standing right there, posing questions at Atiq and Ashraf, demonstrated that they must have been trained to professionally handle those sophisticated weapons.

Atiq’s son Asad Ahmad studying law, whom the UP Police had also declared a proclaimed offender, accusing the whole family of being involved in one Umesh Pal murder, while Atiq and his brother were in jail, was gunned down by the Police in what appeared a fake encounter, going by the videos of the bodies and motorcycle the police put out, a day before Atiq was brought from Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad, was buried hours before Atiq was thus gunned down and one of the accused is heard in the video asking Atiq gleefully why did he not attend his son’s funeral and Atiq was heard replying, ‘the police did not take us there’…and then gunshot crumbling Atiq. Much more shocking and unbelievable than a crime thriller movie or TV serial.

The accused reportedly told the police that they had done a recce of the hospital a day earlier and knew what time and where the Police will take them. How come? If the doctors at Colvin Hospital did not know, how did the accused know? unless someone in the Police and district administration in the know of things had sent them there in a pre-planned conspiracy. Also, when throughout the police was not allowing the media any access to Atiq and Ashraf, who informed the TV channels to reach the hospital in time and why did the police jeep not drive directly into the hospital parking lot which was vacant at that hour and instead stop a few steps away from the main gate where the TV cameramen were awaiting them with cameras and mikes, seen clearly in the videos. Was it also a part of the plan?

It was Ramzan time and in Ramzan month the Muslim localities are buzzing with activity and festivity all night. Therefore, there was a whole lot of bystanders’ eye witness to the entire drama. Some of them said on camera that they saw first Atiq and Ashraf handcuffed descend from a police jeep along with policemen and then the three accused also descend from another Police jeep. Now whether this is true or not, this is an allegation nailing the police and needs to be thoroughly investigated by the three-member judicial commission.

But the chief minister’s self-congratulatory mood over this gives hardly any hope for the real truth to come out. As for expecting any upbraiding of the UP administration and the chief minister, when the Supreme Court had already dismissed Atiq’s prophesied plea that he faced threat to his life, can we expect the Court to take cognizance of this blatant act of liquidating Muslims presumed criminals and their family members thus? Atiq’s wife Shaista Parveen is also on the UP hit list and let’s wait to see what they do to her.

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