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Former member of India’s parliament shot dead on live TV

By Francis Walshe
|
April 17, 2023

Former Indian Member of Parliament Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf have died following a shooting outside a hospital in the state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, April 15, The Guardian reported.

The pair were in police custody at the time of the shooting; both were detained in connection with the murder of lawyer Umesh Pal, a witness in another murder the brothers were allegedly connected with.

Atiq Ahmed was serving a life sentence and was in police custody for a 2019 kidnapping conviction when he was shot.

What Happened?

The Ahmed brothers were giving an interview on live TV at the time of the shooting.

The trio of alleged killers approached the brothers on motorbikes, pretending to be journalists. Once they got close, they opened fire on the brothers, shooting about 20 rounds and killing both men.

Police officer Rahit Sharma told The Guardian that "They managed to reach close to Atiq and his brother on the pretext of recording a bite and fired at them from close range. Both sustained bullet injuries on the head … It all happened in seconds."

Because the brothers were on live TV at the time of the shooting, millions of viewers saw it happen in real time.

The Assailants

The three alleged shooters were arrested at the scene, reported the BBC.

They were named by police as Lavlesh Tiwari (22), Mohit Puraney (23), and Arun Kumar Maurya (18), reported The Guardian.

The outlet also stated that a police report quoted the three men as saying "We wanted to kill Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf with the aim of completely wiping off the Atiq-Ashraf gang and making a name for ourselves."

One of the three suffered a gunshot wound to his hand during the shooting.

A teenage son of Atiq Ahmed's was also shot dead a number of days prior to his father's murder, according to the BBC.

The Ahmed Family's History

Following the start of his political career in the 1990s, Atiq Ahmed was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) and a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Uttar Pradesh, reported India Today.

Ahmed's political career was marred by various criminal allegations and other controversies. This is part of a broader problem in Uttar Pradesh; The Guardian report revealed that nearly half of the state's government ministers are currently facing criminal charges.

It was widely suspected that Ahmed continued to run criminal operations following his incarceration for kidnapping. The Supreme Court of India took cognizance of this and ordered his transfer from Deoria Jail to a high-security prison in Gujarat in June 2019, reported India Today.

Atiq Ahmed had complained to the authorities that his life was in danger from the police earlier this year, reported The Guardian.

Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has reportedly ordered a judicial investigation into the murders.