Days after the sensational daylight killing of a murder witness in Uttar Pradesh, bulldozers showed up at the Prayagraj home of a close relative of gangster Atiq Ahmed, who is accused of plotting the killing.
On Friday, a witness to the 2005 killing of a politician, lawyer Umesh Pal, was killed in a shootout just outside his home in Prayagraj. His security guard was also killed in the shooting by five men.
According to police, the killing was planned by gangster-turned-politician and former Samajwadi Party leader Atiq Ahmed.
Umesh Pal had witnessed the murder of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Raju Pal, who was a bitter rival of Atiq. The police allege Atiq, who is in a jail in Ahmedabad, sent five or six of his closest associates to kill the witness before he could record his statement before the police.
Atiq, along with his son Asad Ahmed and wife and BSP leader Shaista Parveen, were named in the FIR on the killing.
One of the accused was killed in an alleged encounter with the police on Monday.
Bulldozers on scene
On Wednesday morning, bulldozers arrived to demolish the home in Prayagraj of Zafar Ahmed, another close aide of Atiq, who is also missing since the shootout. Reports suggest Atiq’s wife and son were also in the bungalow. Sources say during a search of the bungalow, the police found arms and ammunition.
Reports said earlier on Wednesday, the police raided Atiq’s home in Lucknow and seized two luxury cars.
Recently, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had lashed out at the Samajwadi Party in the assembly, stating that his government would “run the mafia into the ground”.
“Is it not true that the accused against whom the FIR has been lodged, was made an MP by Samajwadi Party? You raise and nurture all the criminals, garland them and then blame others when a crime takes place. By doing this, you are just making a spectacle of yourself,” the chief minister said.
Yogi Adityanath’s “bulldozer policy”, the term that loosely describes the razing of homes of those accused of crime in Uttar Pradesh, has often been criticised as a means of selective targeting.
(With agency inputs)