Ex-Politician Being Taken From Jail to Hospital Fatally Shot

Ex-Indian lawmaker, alleged mobster Atiq Ahmed, brother were fatally shot Saturday in Uttar Pradesh
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2023 11:05 AM CDT
Ex-Indian Lawmaker Gunned Down on Live TV
Indian lawmaker Atiq Ahmed is seen in New Delhi, India, on July 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

A former lawmaker in India, also a convicted criminal who was allegedly a bigwig in a local criminal organization, was shot dead, along with his brother, on live TV over the weekend as they were being escorted by cops to the hospital for a routine checkup. Per Reuters, gunfire rang out Saturday as Atiq Ahmed and sibling Ashraf Ahmed were being transported in the city of Prayagraj, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, by three assailants who reportedly posed as journalists in the crowd gathered around the handcuffed brothers. One of the suspects turned himself over to authorities right after the shooting, while the other two were rounded up soon after by police. The gunmen reportedly yelled out Hindu religious chants after the shooting of the two Muslim mobsters.

An autopsy revealed that Ahmed was shot at least nine times in the chest and head, per the Hindustan Times. His brother was shot five times: once in the face, and four times in the back. A police officer was also said to have been wounded in the shooting. Meanwhile, Atiq Ahmed's son was fatally gunned down by police just last week, in connection with a murder case. The New York Times notes the killings have renewed "alarm about India's slide toward extrajudicial violence," as the nation's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party "moves to reshape India's secular democracy." Analysts and rights advocates are worried about how this violence is taking a foothold in India in support of Hindu interests, and that the public seems to be getting desensitized to it. The state's leader, Yogi Adityanath, is described by the paper as a "hard-line Hindu monk" who may have aspirations of being prime minister.

Among Adityanath's questionable practices: using bulldozers to knock down activists' and protesters' homes, as well as encouraging retaliation against people in interfaith relationships or those accused of smuggling livestock. "From the beginning of his political career, he has projected himself as a monk-soldier, a vigilante unencumbered by due process or the rule of law," Ashoka University political science professor Gilles Verniers tells the New York Times. The state government has demanded a judicial probe into the slaying of the Ahmed brothers. The Hindustan Times reports that the three suspects—at least two of whom have long rap sheets—were taken first to one jail on Sunday, then transferred to a second for "administrative reasons," and that they've been kept isolated from other inmates. (More India stories.)

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