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Indian Ex-Politician And Brother Shot Dead Live on TV

by John Ojewale
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Gunmen disguised as journalists shot and killed a former Indian parliamentarian and his brother during a live television broadcast and handcuffed him to a hospital, authorities said. Attiq Ahmed, 61, detained since 2019 and convicted of kidnapping, was shot dead at point-blank range as he and his brother Ashraf were answering questions from reporters late Saturday. That’s what the TV images showed.

“According to preliminary information, three persons posing as journalists approached them and opened fire… The attackers have been held and are being questioned,” police official Prashant Kumar said.

The TV clip in the northern city of Prayagraj shows the assailants shouting Hindu slogans after the brazen attack.

The two victims were from India’s Muslim minority. However, the police did not say whether they were investigating a possible sectarian motive in the killings. The brothers were deeply involved in India’s criminal underworld. The ex-MP was reportedly facing more than 100 different cases. Furthermore, press reports said the attackers were petty criminals.

The pair were being taken to hospital for medical examinations and were surrounded by police officers at the time. Local media reports said one of the gunmen was even carrying a television camera. Another carried a microphone with the logo of a television channel.

Several days earlier police in the same state of Uttar Pradesh said they had shot dead Ahmed’s 19-year-old son and his accomplice in a shootout. Both were wanted in a case of murder. Scores of people facing charges have been killed in the state in recent years in similar so-called “police encounters”. Civil Rights groups say the killings are often extra-judicial executions.

Ahmed had claimed in a petition to India’s top court that his life was under threat from the police. He was facing charges of murder and assault and had petitioned the court last month.

Following his shooting, gatherings of more than four people were banned across the crime-rife northern state of 200 million people that is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

The shooting sparked outrage among opposition parties accusing the BJP of a ruling out by fear. Hundreds of politicians belonging to all parties across India have criminal cases pending against them, with poor Uttar Pradesh a particular hotspot. These include nearly half of the government ministers in the state including the state premier. The independent monitoring group the Association for Democratic Reforms said this in a statement.


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cc: Vanguard Ng

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