All through the course of the Nineties, Atiq Ahmad grew his interstate gang, which at one level had 153 members and was headed by his youthful brother Ashraf. When the Uttar Pradesh meeting elections had been introduced in 1989, Atiq Ahmad was already well-known in his hometown of Allahabad. Profiting from the area’s political turmoil that decade, Ahmad swiftly established himself within the realm of organised crime, utilising his fief to dictate native land offers, contracts, and actual property developments. He had stabbed an area opponent, Mohammed Gulam, in full public view when he was 17, however his rival that 12 months was much more entrenched – the native prison Shauq Ilahi or Chand Baba, who additionally wished to run within the election.
A high-voltage marketing campaign was unavoidable. The youthful prison used his ties to the local people to his benefit, driving a horse across the outdated metropolis and organising a bike rally to determine his affect amongst younger folks. The gangs of Ahmad and Ilahi clashed on the metropolis’s historic chowk area the day earlier than the votes had been to be counted. Ilahi was killed in a gun battle. The next day, Ahmad was declared the winner as an impartial candidate, kicking off an extended and contentious profession during which he employed a mixture of crime and politics to strengthen his maintain on the area.
That reign got here to an finish on Saturday night in a sprig of gunshots, when three gunmen broke by a police perimeter and shot Ahmad and his brother Khalid Azeem, alias Ashraf. The five-time state legislator and former member of Parliament from Phulpur, who was born in Shravasti to a Muslim household, had 101 complaints in opposition to him however was solely convicted for the primary time early this 12 months. Solely 54 of those lawsuits are nonetheless being heard in courts right now.
Nevertheless, his concern was coupled with reluctant reputation amongst a section of the inhabitants in an space accustomed to strongmen manipulating the regulation to their benefit. Ahmad would maintain court docket at his luxurious dwelling within the Chakia neighbourhood, simply 2 kilometres from the Colvin Hospital grounds the place he was gunned down. Locals would often search him to settle property or home issues, in addition to monetary disputes.
Ahmad would maintain court docket and choose his opponents’ destiny. He even sentenced folks in a number of instances that had been “settled” outdoors of court docket, he mentioned. After the authorities demolished it in September 2020, that home is now a pile of particles. Ahmad all the time travelled in high-end SUVs with a posse of gunmen, and utilised his fame to intimidate folks, seize property, and power homeowners to switch it to him or his assistants. He gained as an impartial once more in 1991 and 1993.
That 12 months, he joined the Samajwadi Get together and ran for a similar seat three years later, profitable once more. He joined the newly based Apna Dal in 1999 and served as its state president earlier than returning to the SP in 2003. The next 12 months, he ran for Lok Sabha from Phulpur on an SP ticket and gained. Throughout this era, his political affect was rising, and numerous events vied for his favour. However a competitor was on the horizon: Raju Pal, a Bahujan Samaj Get together lawmaker who defeated Azeem within the 2005 meeting election.
Three months later, Raju Pal was gunned down outdoors his dwelling by gunmen working on the orders of Ahmad and Ashraf. The general public assassination of the politician generated an uproar, prompting the state authorities to file costs in opposition to Ahmad for homicide. He was arrested for the primary time. Nevertheless, his confinement didn’t have an effect on his energy. He allegedly continued to run his crime empire from inside bars, even ordering strikes and killings.
In 2018, a Lucknow-based realtor was allegedly thrashed and kidnapped by Ahmad’s aides. This case ultimately persuaded the Supreme Court docket to order Ahmad’s elimination from the state. Ahmad didn’t win an election after 2004, owing to his rising infamy, and political events step by step distanced themselves from him. However electoral setbacks didn’t derail his marketing campaign; when he filed his nomination from jail in 2012, some judges refused to listen to his bail plea till it was lastly granted, based on a senior police official conversant in the case who declined to be recognized.
Nevertheless, election defeats didn’t dissuade him. He rode his well-known Bullet bike by the streets of Prayagraj, and in 2017, he led a large caravan of automobiles to Kanpur to press for his candidature, solely to be denied by the Samajwadi Get together.In 2016, his aides allegedly assaulted the personnel of a school in Prayagraj for taking motion in opposition to pupils detected dishonest on a take a look at. The incident sparked anger, and no political get together would nominate him once more. He was caught and imprisoned the next 12 months, and in 2018, he fled the state.
On March 28, 2023, he was sentenced to life in jail for kidnapping lawyer Umesh Pal in 2006. Umesh Pal, a key witness within the 2005 Raju Pal homicide investigation, was kidnapped and intimidated in 2006. In keeping with an official conversant in the scenario, this was a typical ploy in Ahmad’s playbook. Umesh Pal and two bodyguards had been shot lifeless outdoors his residence on February 24, 2023. Ahmad died not lengthy after.