Gunmen posing as journalists shoot dead former Indian MP live on TV

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Gunmen posing as journalists have shot dead a former Indian member of parliament and his brother, both of whom had criminal links, and while they were speaking live on television.

Atiq Ahmed, 61, and Ashraf Ahmed were being taken in handcuffs to hospital by police and were answering reporters’ questions when they were shot at close range, authorities said.

Ashraf Ahmed and Atiq Ahmed, 61, were being taken in handcuffs to hospital by police and were answering reporters’ questions when they were shot at close range.

Atiq Ahmed had been jailed since 2019 and was convicted of kidnapping.

“According to preliminary information, three persons posing as journalists approached them and opened fire.

The attackers have been held and are being questioned,” Prashant Kumar, a police official said.

The footage of the men being killed in the northern city of Prayagraj was shared across broadcast channels and social media.

Atiq Ahmed had been convicted of kidnapping and was facing murder and assault charges.Credit: AP

A gunman is seen reaching over the shoulders of police officers to point a pistol at the temple of the former politician whose turban is blown off as the gun discharges.

His brother, Ashraf, was shot a split second later.

After the attack, the assailants can be heard shouting Hindu slogans.

In other footage, one gunman is seen firing repeatedly at the brothers’ bodies as they lay on the ground.

Police barricaded the area where Atiq Ahmad was shot.Credit: AP

The two victims died within minutes, while police quickly detained three men suspected of carrying out the slaying.

One of the assailants surrendered immediately after the shooting, while officers subdued the other two suspects.

The two victims were from India’s Muslim minority, but police did not say whether they were investigating a possible sectarian motive in the killings.

The Ahmed brothers were deeply involved in India’s criminal underworld – the former MP was reportedly facing more than 100 different cases.

Press reports said the attackers were petty criminals.

The two brothers were 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 and another a microphone with the logo of a television channel.

Several days earlier police in the same state of Uttar Pradesh said they had killed Atiq Ahmed’s 19-year-old son and his accomplice in a shoot-out. Both were wanted for murder. Just before he was shot, Atiq Ahmed was being asked whether he had attended his son’s funeral, replying: “They did not take us, so we did not go.”

Scores of people facing charges have been killed in the state in recent years in similar so-called “police encounters”, which rights groups say are often extra-judicial executions.

Indian filmmakers have chosen the state as the setting for films about gang violence amid growing demand for crime thrillers.

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

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

“The state government imposed restrictive orders after the killings of Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf Ahmed, who were members of a large mafia involved in land grabbing and in murder cases,” said a senior police official.

The Telegraph, London

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