'Jungle raj', 'mafia raj': Oppn slams BJP over killing of Atiq Ahmed

Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were shot dead at point-blank range by three men posing as journalists on Saturday night

Atiq and Ashraf moments before they were shot dead by three assailants
Atiq and Ashraf moments before they were shot dead by three assailants


The Opposition on Sunday lashed out at the BJP over the killing of gangster-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj district, alleging that "jungle raj" and "mafia raj" were prevalent under its rule.

The Congress said criminals should be given the harshest punishment, but it should be under the law of the land and subverting the rule of law for any political purpose is dangerous for democracy.

Atiq (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 Saturday night while police personnel were escorting them to a medical college in Prayagraj for a checkup.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said there are courts to ensure that criminals get the harshest punishment, but "playing with law and order only gives birth to anarchy".

In a series of tweets in Hindi, Kharge said the Constitution of the country has been made by those people who fought for freedom and this Constitution and law is paramount.

"No one can be allowed to mess with it. Judiciary has the right to decide the punishment of the criminal. This right cannot be given to any government, leader or person who violates the law," the Congress chief said.

"Those who advocate the law of the gun and mobocracy only destroy the Constitution. Whoever interferes with our justice system for political purpose to intimidate and threaten someone in the society, that person is also liable for punishment along with the criminal," Kharge said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said stringent action should be taken against those involved in the incident. 

"Jungle Raj under BJP Yogi govt in UP. Its USP: Encounter killings, Bulldozer politics & patronising criminals. Enforce rule of law; apprehend perpetrators & punish them stringently," he said in a tweet.

TMC MP Mohua Moitra said the country has been turned into "mafia raj".

"BJP has turned India into a mafia republic. I will say it here, I will say it abroad, I will say it everywhere because it is the truth. 2 men in custody shot dead in front of a zillion policemen & cameras - this is the death of the rule of law," she said. 

Moitra also said that she can even believe that the BJP got the shooting done simply to "deflect attention" from repercussions to the Satyapal Malik interview. "Nothing, just nothing, is beyond this government," she said.

In a statement, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said the rule of law as laid down in the Constitution is paramount. 

priyan"Criminals should be given the harshest punishment, but it should be under the law of the land. Subverting or violating the rule of law and judicial process for any political purpose is dangerous for our democracy," Ramesh said.

"Whoever does this, or gives protection to those who do such acts, should also be held responsible and the law should be strictly enforced on them," he said.

It should be our collective endeavour to ensure that the judicial system and rule of law is at all times honoured in letter and spirit, Ramesh said.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is AICC in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, also tweeted the Congress' view on the matter.

Without naming anyone, Priyanka Gandhi tweeted out what was effectively the Hindi version of the party statement.

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi attacked the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh over the killing  and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the incident as well as called for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the matter. 

Alleging that the BJP was running the government in Uttar Pradesh by "rule by gun" and not rule of law, Owaisi said this had been continuing ever since the BJP government was formed in 2017.

The Hyderabad MP termed the killings cold-blooded murder. "You see the way the weapons were fired. It is cold-blooded murder and they (those involved in the killings) are professionals. How much is the role of BJP's Uttar Pradesh government...and who are these people who in the presence of police and media resorted to cold-blooded murder? Who told them? What is their background and why didn't the police stop them? Supreme-Court-monitored investigation should be done into this incident," Owaisi told reporters here.

Condemning the incident, the AIMIM chief said it is not only Indian Muslims, but all those citizens of the country who believe in rule of law and Constitution, "all of them feel weak today".  He charged that there was radicalisation in the majority community. "Who are these people? Those who were involved in yesterday's killings if they are not related to the Uttar Pradesh government...I am raising a question...I don't know if they are related or not. And how did they get radicalised? How come they got these weapons?," Owaisi asked. 

"These are highly radicalised elements. Who are these people...after firing (they) raise religious slogans. What will you call them if not terrorists? Will you call them 'desh bhakts'? Will you garland them?" he asked and slammed those who were celebrating the incident.  Owaisi said the entire responsibility lay on the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

"We demand the resignation of the chief Minister. The Supreme Court should suo-motu take cognisance of the matter and form a team to investigate into the incident and there should be no officials from Uttar Pradesh in that team. I plead to the Supreme Court," Owaisi said.

RJD MP Manoj Jha also slammed the BJP over the killing of the brothers, saying it is not a murder of a person but of the process of law.

"Bapu was killed, there was a trial, Indira Gandhi was killed there was a trial, Rajiv Gandhi was killed there was a trial, what kind of process is this... to kill an alleged goonda, goondaism is being resorted to. We are not living in the medieval ages," Jha said.

The person who is the head of the Uttar Pradesh administration is incompetent, he said slamming Adityanath.

"My head bowed in shame when the assailants raised religious slogans. I would urge the media to also think about the country," Jha said.

Umesh Pal, a key witness in the murder case of BSP MLA Raju Pal, and his two police security guards had been shot dead outside his residence in Dhoomanganj, Lucknow on February 24.

Based on a complaint lodged by Umesh Pal's wife Jaya Pal, a case was registered on February 25 against Ahmed, Ashraf, Ahmed's wife Shaista Parveen, two sons, aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam, and nine others.

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