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‘Mafia ko mitti mei mila denge’: Yogi Adityanath says SP patronised criminals over killing of key witness in BSP MLA’s murder

Yogi Adityanath said in the assembly that Atiq Ahmed, a prime suspect in BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case, was patronised by SP, and he had won assembly and look sabha polls on SP tickets

The issue of the murder of Umesh Pal, a key witness in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal in 2005, triggered a heated debate between BJP and SP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly after CM Yogi Adityanath said that SP was harbouring criminals and mafia in the state. Replying to the motion of thanks to the governor’s address in the assembly on Saturday morning, the CM said that decisive action would be taken against the criminals, saying ‘mafia ko mitti mei mila denge’.

Umesh Pal was shot dead in Prayagraj on Friday evening at his residence by unidentified attackers. One man shot Umesh Pal when he was getting out of his car, while others hurled crude bombs. Two of security guards deployed by the UP govt were also injured in the attack. Umesh Pal was taken to a hospital where he succumbed during the treatment. The condition of one of his bodyguards is critical.

Umesh Pal was a prime witness in the Raju Pal murder in 2005, who was shot dead in broad daylight in Prayagraj on January 25, months after winning the Allahabad (West) assembly seat in a by-election by defeating Khalid Azim, brother of former SP MP Atiq Ahmed, a mafia don turned politician. The by-election was held after sitting MLA Atiq Ahmed was elected to the Lok Sabha in the general elections on a SP ticket.

Atiq Ahmed and his brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf are the main accused in the case and are currently lodged in jail. The murder case is being probed by the CBI, and 10 persons have been named in the charge sheet filed in the case, including Atiq and Khalid.

As the key accused in the Raju Pal murder case are SP leaders, CM Yogi Adityanath accused the party of patronising criminals, evoking a strong reaction from Akhilesh Yadav in the house. Talking about the Umesh Pal murder, the CM asked, ‘these criminals and these mafias, after all, who harboured them? Is it not true that the mafia against whom the FIR was filed by the victim’s family was made MP by Samajwadi Party?’

‘You will harbour criminals, put garlands on them, and then you create a scene?’ the CM said to the SP MLAs who started to object to his comments. Akhilesh Yadav asked which criminal is member of which party, and alleged that Yogi Adityanath was not naming Bahujan Samaj Party because BJP has a friendship with BSP. To this, the CM replied by asking that is it not true that Atiq Ahmed, against whom the victim’s family filed the FIR, is not a criminal patronised by SP.

Saying that the UP govt will finish the mafia in the state, Yogi said, ‘I am saying in this house, we will reduce the mafia to the ground’. He said that SP has not learnt anything except patronising ciminals, and crime is filled in their blood. He gave details of how Atiq Ahmed became MLA and MP several times either with the support of SP or on SP tickets.

Akhilesh Yadav objected to comments by the CM, saying the CM can’t say ‘mafia ko mitti mei mila denge’. He said this is the wrong language, and only the law can take action against the mafia, not the government. The speaker countered him by saying that there is nothing wrong in promising against the mafia, but the SP chief didn’t relent, saying it is wrong to say ‘mafia ko mitti mei mila denge’.

Yogi Adityanath taunted SP further on this, pointing out how the party is opposing taking action against criminals. He said that yesterday’s incident in Prayagraj is tragic, and the culprits won’t be spared. He questioned why the leader of the opposition is so disturbed by the promise to crush the mafia in the state. He said that during the SP rule, the mafia was patronised by the ruling party, they used to feel proud in glorifying the mafia, and the government used to bow down to the professional mafia, and now his government is on a mission to finish the same professional mafia.

It is notable that Atiq Ahmed is a five-time MLA from Allahabad, he won as an independent in 1989, 1991 and 1993. He won the assembly seat from an SP ticket in 1996, and then won in 2002 from Apna Dal. In 2004, he won the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat from SP. He was expelled by SP in the year 2008, and he contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Apna Dal, which is lost. He contested the polls from Prayagraj after he was arrested in the Raju Pal murder case. Atiq Ahmed contested the 2012 assembly polls from jail and lost to Raju Pal’s widow Puja Pal. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he was again inducted into SP and contested the polls from Shrawasti seat, which he lost to BJP.

Apart from the Raju Pal murder case, Atiq Ahmed is also facing several other criminal cases including cases of assault, kidnapping, torture etc.

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