opinion | Yogi’s crackdown on mafia: A welcome step for UP

Today's talk, Yogi Adityanath
Image source: India TV Last year Atiq Ahmed’s house was razed to the ground.

The Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) on Wednesday and Thursday used bulldozers to demolish the properties of Safdar Ali and Khalid Zafar, two aides of UP mafia don Atiq Ahmed, lodged in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Jail.

This was part of a larger crackdown following the February 24 killing of Umesh Pal, a key witness in the murder case of BSP MLA Raju Pal. The UP Police has announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for the arrest of Atiq Ahmed’s son, who has gone underground with his mother.

Police say Atiq Ahmed’s son and three others were involved in the broad daylight murder of Umesh Pal. Police and PDA have identified at least 20 people, said to be close to Atiq Ahmed and his gang, whose properties have been listed for demolition. These properties are in Chakia, Teliarganj, Dhumanganj, Salemsarai, Harwara, Jayantipur, Sadiyapur, Mindera, Jhalwa and Atala in Prayagraj city. Arbaaz, one of the four accused, was killed by the police in an encounter on February 27.

In Chakia locality of Prayagraj, on Wednesday, the illegal construction made in the house of Zafar Ahmed was demolished by running a bulldozer. Aitak Ahmed’s wife Shaista Parveen was living in this house with their two sons. He had taken this house of Zafar Ahmed on rent. Police officials allege that this is the house where the plot to kill Umesh Pal was hatched and Shaista Parveen met the killers. The cost of this building to be built in an area of ​​200 square meters is between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 3 crore. Prior to the demolition, the police found two rifles and swords during a search. Due to its being in a congested area, extreme care was taken in demolishing the house.

Last year Atiq Ahmed’s house was razed to the ground. Zafar Ahmed, close to Atiq Ahmed, is a resident of Banda, UP. He bought this house two years ago. On the day Umesh Pal was murdered, Shaista Parveen held a press conference and claimed that she had no role in the murder, but after she was named in the police FIR, she went underground. While fleeing, she left behind her education documents, birth certificates of her children and driving licenses at home. Zafar Ahmed’s lawyer Khan Soulat Hanif alleged that the demolition was illegal and it was not a benami property. Haneef alleged that no notice was issued by the PDA before the demolition.

Some other associates of Atiq Ahmed like Guddu Muslim, Nafeez, Armaan, Sadaqat and Ghulam may also face demolition action. The vehicle used to kill Umesh Pal belonged to a woman named Rukhsana. His house can also be demolished. Atiq Ahmed’s son Asad lived in Lucknow’s Universal Apartment. He came to this flat along with his associate on February 24 (the day Umesh Pal was killed) and since then they all have gone underground. The Special Task Force of UP Police has sent teams to different places to nab the accused. Asad’s flat has been sealed by the police and two of his luxury cars have been seized.

On Wednesday, in the UP Assembly, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath criticized the Samajwadi Party for introducing ‘one district, one mafia’, in contrast to the BJP government’s ‘one district, one product’ policy. Yogi said, “Akhilesh Yadav (SP chief) tries to find out the caste of the criminals and the victims in every case. I want to ask to which caste did Raju Pal and Umesh Pal belong? There is a picture of an accused shaking hands with Akhilesh Yadav. Instead of giving clarification, Akhilesh is trying to talk here and there. Akhilesh Yadav, who had gone to Tamil Nadu, later tweeted: “Those who excuse themselves by giving ‘mafi’ should not talk about the mafia”.

Yogi Adityanath is right. In UP even today the castes of criminals and victims are noted. For decades, mafia leaders and gangsters in UP got political protection because of their castes and communities. Political parties took the help of mafia leaders to get support from certain castes and communities. Later the gangsters became politicians and contested elections to become MPs and MLAs.

These mafia dons have been dominating the politics of UP for years. No one had the courage to stop them from committing crimes like land grabbing, extortion and murder. Yogi Adityanath changed this trend in the last six years. His zero tolerance policy towards criminals instilled confidence and courage in the police officers. Earlier policemen were scared of mafia dons, but now gangsters tremble on seeing UP police.

On Wednesday, Atiq Ahmed, lodged in Sabarmati Jail, has filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding the safety of his life. In his petition, he claimed that there was a “real and direct threat” to his life and that of his family members. In his petition, he alleged that his two minor sons have been taken into “illegal custody” by the police and kept at an undisclosed location. Ateeq has sought a direction to the apex court to stop the UP police from taking him from Sabarmati Central Jail to Prayagraj or any other part of Uttar Pradesh. “The petitioner genuinely apprehensions and believes that he may be killed in a fake encounter by the UP Police on one pretext or the other,” the petition said.

Now questions are being raised on the encounter. But remember those dark days when UP was dominated by mafias. It is true that innocent people should not become victims, but it is also true that if bulldozers were not used to create fear among the mafia dons, the overall law and order situation could not have improved.

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