A former Indian lawmaker convicted of kidnapping and facing murder and assault charges was shot dead along with his brother in a dramatic attack that was caught live on TV in northern India, officials said Sunday.
Atiq Ahmad and his brother, Ashraf Ahmad, were under police escort on their way to a medical checkup at a hospital on Saturday night when three men posing as journalists targeted the two brothers from close range in Prayagraj city in Uttar Pradesh state.
The men quickly surrendered to the police after the shooting, with at least one of them chanting “Jai Shri Ram” or “Hail Lord Ram,” a slogan that has become a battle cry for Hindu nationalists in their campaign against Muslims.
Uttar Pradesh is governed by India’s ruling Hindu-nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party.
Police officer Ramit Sharma said the three assailants came on motorcycles posing as journalists.
“They managed to reach close to Atiq and his brother on the pretext of recording a byte and fired at them from close range. Both sustained bullet injuries on the head," he said.
“It all happened in seconds," Sharma said.
On Thursday, Atiq Ahmad's teenage son and another man, who had both been blamed for a recent murder, were killed by police in what was described as a shootout.
Atiq Ahmad, 60, was jailed in 2019 after he was convicted of kidnapping. He was a local lawmaker four times and was also elected to India's parliament in 2004.
His lawyer, Vijay Mishra, said the incident was shocking as “it is a clear failure of the police in ensuring the safety" of his clients.
Opposition parties criticized the killings as a security lapse.