Fallout of Atiq’s murder: MHA to prepare SOPs for journalists

The step is being taken after three assailants posing as journalists killed Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in Prayagraj while they were speaking to reporters

Atiq Ahmad killed, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, Journalists' SOPs
Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were shot dead outside the hospital in Prayagraj where they were being taken for a medical check-up | Pic: ANI/Twitter

The Centre has decided to prepare standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the safety and security of journalists in the wake of three assailants posing as mediapersons killing gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in Prayagraj, sources said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and guidance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, will prepare SOPs for the safety and security of journalists, they said.

The step is being taken after three assailants posing as journalists killed Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in Prayagraj on Saturday night while they were speaking to reporters, they said.

Also read: Ex-MP Atiq Ahmad, brother shot dead in Prayagraj; 3 held, UP CM orders probe

Shot at point-blank range

The two brothers were shot dead at point-blank range by three men posing as journalists in the middle of a media interaction on Saturday night while police personnel were escorting them to a medical college for a check-up.

Briefing reporters about the incident, Prayagraj Police Commissioner Ramit Sharma had on Saturday said the three assailants, who were arrested immediately after the incident, had joined the group of mediapersons who were trying to get sound bites from Ahmad and Ashraf.

“In accordance with a mandatory legal requirement, Ahmad and Ashraf were brought to the hospital for a medical examination. According to preliminary information, three men posing as journalists approached them and opened fire. Ahmad and Ashraf were killed in the attack. The attackers have been held and are being questioned,” Sharma said.

Case registered

Meanwhile, police on Sunday registered a case against the three assailants. SHO of Dhoomanganj police station, Rajesh Kumar Maurya said the case has been registered against Lavlesh Tiwari (a resident of Banda), Mohit alias Sunny (Hamirpur) and Arun Maurya (Kasganj). The case has been registered under sections 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC, Arms Act and Criminal Law Amendment Act.

Police had also recovered the arms used in the crime from the spot.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has formed a three-member judicial commission to probe the killing of Ahmad and his brother.

Horrifying visuals

The brothers, both jailed in Prayagraj, were in handcuffs when they were killed in full view of camera crews around 10 pm on Saturday. The horrifying visuals were circulated widely on social media platforms and television channels. The last rites of Ahmad’s son Asad, who was gunned down in a police encounter in Jhansi on April 13, were performed in Prayagraj just hours before the shooting.

Police constable Man Singh was injured in the incident as a bullet hit his arm, an officer said, adding that a journalist was also hurt after he fell during the commotion that followed the shooting.

Also read: Atiq Ahmed’s son buried amid tight security in UP’s Prayagraj

Video footage showed a man thrusting a gun at Ahmad’s head as he talks to reporters and the former Samajwadi Party (SP) MP collapsing. The footage also showed the three assailants firing at the brothers even after they had fallen.

Ahmad moved the Supreme Court for protection, claiming that he and his family have been falsely implicated in the Umesh Pal murder case and he may be killed in a fake encounter by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

(With Agency inputs)