Who is Atiq Ahmed?: Atiq Ahmed is the buzz word for news, social media, and where not! Recently, Atiq Ahmad was brought to Prayagraj from Sabarmati jail in Gujarat for the hearing of his judgement. The court has now sentenced him to life imprisonment in the Umesh Pal murder case. Being escorted by a convoy to the court and the tightening of the curbs on his illegal activities show that the government has toughly worked out a way to deal with his terror. The way the current government is dealing with Atiq Ahmad itself shows that Atiq is no small fish in the criminal pond. But what is Atiq Ahmed’s crime list? How did Atiq’s political career start? And most importantly, how did Atiq enter the criminal world?
Who is Atiq Ahmed?
Atiq Ahmed, son of Haji Firoj, a horse cart coachman, was born in 1962. Atiq was said to have inherited his father’s criminal tendencies from him. At that time, the locality in Allahabad, now Prayagraj, was dominated by Shauq Ilahi, aka Chand Baba. But soon, news of the murder by a 17-year-old boy took over the area.
The boy was Atiq, who was on a surge as a rival of Chand Baba. After failing class 10 in 1979, Atiq’s distance from education paved the way for his entry into the criminal world. But it was in 1983 that a formal FIR was registered against him. His growing terror in Allahabad was challenging the law and order of the city, especially in Allahabad West, where he was in direct feud with Chand Baba.
Atiq Ahmed entered politics
In 1986, the then Chief Minister of UP, Veer Bahadur Singh, ordered his arrest. As a result, police started a hunt, and he was arrested. But his political connections till that time were so consolidated that CM Veer Bahadur Singh had to release him. This motivated him to indulge in more fierce criminal activities.
Although he was released, he suspected that Veer Bahadur Singh was going to get him killed in an encounter. This was probably because the Veer Bahadur government pressed many charges against him, including the NSA, and the CM too did not like him. By the time he got released, the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was at its peak and the society was completely polarised.
Fearing his encounter and seeking the social conditions as an opportunity to harness the divide, he contested the 1989 Assembly Elections from Allahabad West and consequently won the election. This election proved to be the climax of the Atiq-Chand Baba rivalry. Since Chand Baba, who was also the corporator, contested against Atiq, Atiq got so offended by this that, before the announcement of the results, he along with his henchmen shot Chand Baba dead.
Atiq switched parties
Now Atiq Ahmed was the sole mafia boss in the area, and his political career too was kickstarted. Allahabad West became his fort, and in 1991 he got re-elected, both times standing independently. But until then, the regional parties too consolidated their power in state and national politics.
Their hunger to acquire state power was so firm that they were ready to compromise law and order. In 1993, the coalition of SP and BSP supported Atiq Ahmed, and no contest was put against him. This gave him the political advantage and patronage to carry on the crimes. His hold on the area was widening, and he was achieving higher connections in the political realms.
In 1996, he won the Allahabad West seat on the ticket of the Samajwadi Party. He soon started to sort priorities and switch political parties according to his needs. In 1999, he joined Apna Dal, and in 2002, he became the state president of the party. He won three seats for the party, including his own. Atiq gained so much influence in the party that he campaigned across the state by helicopter. The Allahabad West Demography, which comprised 30 percent Muslims, had 15 percent Kurmis and Pals. This demographic equation intensified his rivalry with Raju Pal.
Read More : Atiq Ahmad’s Reign of Fear: What Samajwadi Party cannot escape the blame
First time when Atiq won Lok Sabha
His aspirations grew to another level, and he intended to sit as a lawmaker in Delhi. He joined the Samajwadi Party again in 2004 and won the Lok Sabha seat of Phoolpur in general elections.
Interestingly, Phoolpur is the same seat that was contested by the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, in 1952. Nehru won continuously from this seat in 1957. 1962. After his death in 1964, his sister Vijay Lakshmi Pandit resigned as a governor and contested and retained the seat for Congress and the Nehru family.
Atiq Ahmed’s win from this seat gained cognizance from the footpath to the corridors of Parliament. In just one year, hovering over political power, Atiq committed a crime that was to lead him to his end. Yes! I am talking about Raju Pal’s murder, which took place in 2005. After becoming MP, Atiq had to vacate the Assembly seat, so he got the ticket for his brother Khalid Azim, aka Ashraf. But BSDP gave the ticket to another OBC candidate with a criminal background, Raju Pal. In an interesting contest, Raju Pal prevailed over Ashraf. Following this, there were many deadly attacks on Raju Pal.
Raju Pal was murdered by Atiq Ahmed
On January 25, 2005, MLA Raju Pal was brutally murdered in the Dhoomanganj area of the city. The accusation of the MLA’s murder was placed on Atique and Ashraf. Both brothers had to go to jail in this case. After Raju Pal’s murder, a by-election was held for the City West seat. The then-Mulayam government added prestige to this seat, and with the help of government machinery, Ashraf was elected as an MLA. Ashraf had to face defeat in the 2007 election, and Atique had to face defeat in 2012 from the same seat. The accusation of Raju Pal’s murder became a noose around Atique’s neck, from which he has not been able to escape till date, and it has become a scar for him, now reaching the brink of being buried in the ground.
Read More : After Mukhtar Ansari, another UP gangster Atiq Ahmad is all set to meet his fate
Atiq never won an election afterwards
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Atique got a ticket from Pratapgarh from his party. In 2014, he got a ticket from the Samajwadi Party for the Shravasti seat, and in 2018, he contested the by-election in Phulpur as an independent candidate, while in 2019, he contested the Lok Sabha election against PM Modi from the Varanasi seat as an independent candidate. However, he had to face a resounding defeat in all these elections. Except for Shravasti, he was held in custody during the remaining three Lok Sabha elections.
And now, after more than 18 years since Raju Pal’s death, Atiq Ahmed has been given a life sentence. Recently, Umesh Pal, a key witness in the case, was also kidnapped and killed.
Atiq Ahmed’s sentence shows that whatever political position a person holds or how many political connections a person has, the crime can never come to a peaceful end. Justice has been served to the people who have suffered from his crimes. On the other hand, after Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmad, it is interesting to see who is left on the Yogi government’s checklist and who is next to be put to justice.
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