Atiq Ahmed, a jailed former Indian criminal who became a politician, and his brother Ashraf were shot dead at close range on live television while being escorted in handcuffs to a hospital in Prayagraj for a required medical test on Saturday night.
The attackers, who were disguised as journalists, opened fire on the brothers as they were being questioned by camera crews.
The two shooters and an associate were taken into custody by police at the crime scene. They have been identified as Luvlesh Tiwari, Sunny, and Arun Maurya, though other names were also being mentioned. A police constable and a journalist who were injured in the attack were in the hospital receiving medical attention.
Ahmed’s lawyer confirmed that he was shot in the head at close range.
Prayagraj police commissioner Ramit Sharma later confirmed that both Atiq and Ashraf died from the attack and that three people had been apprehended for the crime. “They were brought to the hospital as per mandatory legal requirements and doctors have pronounced them dead. One journalist of a news agency fell and was injured while trying to run for cover, while a constable, Man Singh, suffered a gunshot wound to the hand and was being treated in hospital,” he said.
According to eyewitnesses, approximately 14 gunshots were heard during the attack, which lasted for about 22 seconds. The two gunmen and their accomplice were quickly overpowered by police officers. While being restrained by the police, two of the attackers were reportedly heard shouting “Jai Shri Ram.”
The eyewitnesses also said that the attackers had waited with journalists outside the hospital for about thirty minutes prior to the arrival of Atiq and Ashraf.
Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of UP, asked officials that a three-member judicial committee be formed to investigate the incident after convening a high-level meeting in response to the shocking killings. Atiq was formerly an MLA and MP.
Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf, who were both detained at Sabarmati and Bareilly jails, respectively, had been brought to Prayagraj for questioning related to the February 24th daylight shooting in which lawyer Umesh Pal and his police bodyguards were killed. Notably, Atiq had 103 criminal cases against him, while Ashraf had 53 cases, according to The Times of India.
Meanwhile, Asad, Atiq’s son, and his aide Ghulam were killed in a police encounter on Friday. Both of them were among the suspects named in the Umesh Pal murder case. With the recent deaths of Atiq, Ashraf, Asad, Ghulam, and two other accused, a total of six suspects have now been killed in connection with the case.