Killing of Atiq Ahmad as heinous as Umesh Pal murder: Mayawati

Lucknow:  BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday said the killing of gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in police custody in Prayagraj raises serious questions over the style of functioning of the Uttar Pradesh government.

It would be better if the Supreme Court takes cognisance of this “extremely serious and worrisome” incident, which is being discussed across the country, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.

In a series of tweets, she said, “Now, instead of ‘rule of law by law’ in Uttar Pradesh, how appropriate is it that it becomes ‘encounter Pradesh’? Something to think about.” “The shooting dead of Atiq Ahmad, who was brought from a Gujarat jail, and his brother Ashraf, who was brought from Bareilly jail, last night in Prayagraj in police custody is just as heinous as the Umesh Pal murder case. It raises serious questions on the law and order of the UP government, and its style of functioning,” she said.

Gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad (60) and his brother Ashraf were shot dead at point-blank range by three men posing as journalists in the middle of a media interaction on Saturday night while police personnel were escorting them to a medical college in Prayagraj for a checkup.

The brothers, both jailed in Prayagraj, were in handcuffs when they were killed in full view of camera crews around 10 pm. The horrifying visuals were circulated widely on social media platforms and television channels. The last rites of Ahmad’s son Asad, who was gunned down in a police encounter in Jhansi on April 13, were performed here just hours before the shooting.

Briefing reporters about the incident, Commissioner of Police, Prayagraj, Ramit Sharma said the three assailants, who were arrested immediately after the incident, had joined the group of reporters who were trying to get sound bites from Ahmad and Ashraf.

“In accordance with a mandatory legal requirement, Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf were brought to the hospital for a medical examination. According to preliminary information, three men posing as journalists approached them and opened fire. Ahmad and Ashraf were killed in the attack. The attackers have been held and are being questioned,” Sharma said.

Officials said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has formed a three-member judicial commission to probe the killing of Ahmad and his brother.