Saturday, May 18, 2024

Chilling murder of a don in UP

What does it mean when the killers say they hope to benefit from murder? Who is going to benefit them for killing a don and his brother while in police custody and hand-cuffed?  Don Atiq Ahmed and his brother Khalid Azim told the highest court in the land only two months ago that they fear for their lives and they may be bumped off any time. They requested the apex court to provide security. They said they may be “killed in a fake encounter on one pretext or the other by the U.P. police.” The Supreme Court refused to entertain their please perhaps because Atiq Ahmed had more than one hundred criminal cases against them and they themselves are known to be killers. Even those who are accused of murder should have fair trial before getting convicted.  Atiq’s son Asad Ahmed, 19, and his aide Ghulam Hussain were killed in an ‘encounter’ at Jhansi by UP police only the other day. Both Atiq and his son were accused in the daylight murder of their political rival. Atiq Ahmed was not only a criminal don but also a member of parliament and UP assembly. He was with Samajwadi Party and Apna Dal, both are mainstream political parties. Since 1990s the don-politician survived various governments of different hues. Now that Yogi  Adityanath has been heading a government that believes in bumping off persons with criminal record rather than book them and handover them to the law and order agencies, the life of Atiq Ahmed had become uncertain. Atiq was in Gujarat prison for some time. On his return he was facing fresh allegations of murder. The Yogi government has called for calm, set up a judicial probe and promised to take appropriate action. The assurance is not reassuring in the wake of the UP government’s ways of celebrating the murder of criminals in police ‘encounters.’

UP Police say 183 alleged criminals have been gunned down in encounters in the last six years. More than 10,900 encounters took place since March 2017. It has become a habit for the UP police to  circumvent the due process that is expected to be exercised in maintaining the rule of law.  The way the don and his brother were killed has a chilling effect. The citizens can carry out their own murder plans with the inefficient or indifferent police are holding the persons that are killed and looking the other way. It may not be connivance but an act that was helped by the police may be unwittingly. Given the attitude of Yogi’s government and UP police, one cannot say that justice would be done by the three member inquiry commission headed by a former high court judge. The way the probe is conducted will test the commitment of the state to the rule of law. When the assailants say the murder would benefit them in the future, it is a sad commentary of the state of affairs in UP and on the credibility of Yogi Adityanath’s government.  

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor


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