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Mukhtar Ansari: Know family history of the mafia, his rise in crime and politics, and the eventual downfall under the Yogi Adityanath government

The most important of the cases registered against Mukhtar Ansari is the incident of the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. It was 29 November 2005, which is still called a ‘Black Day’ by the people of Ghazipur. Krishnanand Rai was killed on 29th June 2005, along with his six companions.

The Mau district in Uttar Pradesh was carved out of the Azamgarh district in 1988. The Mau Assembly constituency elected a mafia-turned-politician named Mukhtar Ansari five consecutive times. For the last more than 15 years, this former ‘lawmaker’ – ill-known more for breaking the laws rather than making one – is lodged in jail.

He contested the election from jail. He won the election from jail. He operates his gangs from jail. He will soon get a verdict in a case booked under the gangster act against him. This representative of people, booked under scores of cases of ransom, kidnapping, murders, etc. is none other than mafia Mukhtar Ansari.

The Ansari family

Before going into the deeds of the dreaded mafia-turned-politician, it becomes necessary to know the lineage he hails from. Surprisingly, he finds his roots in a family that is a far cry from his own deeds.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari

Mukhtar Ansari happens to be the grandson of Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari. This Mohammadabad-born Ghazipur-based Muslim national went on to become a doctor at a medical college in Madras (now Chennai). He went to the UK and earned degrees in MS and MD from there. Then he started practising surgery and is allegedly called one of the pioneers of modern-day surgery in India.

He also pursued some serious, weird, yet successful research in surgeries as complex as grafting animal testicles to man. There were so many areas to be researched in the field of surgery in those days. However, why Dr Ansari chose this topic to research is still a mystery.

This ‘gentleman’ joined Indian National Congress. He supported the Ottoman dynasty of Turkie Khalifa in the Khilafat movement. Interestingly, he simultaneously was a member of the Muslim League too. He was the president of Congress in 1927. He later earned secular credentials when he left the Muslim League as the Islamist outfit pronounced its separatist agenda. He remained the Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia from 1928 until he died in 1936.

Mohammad Hamid Ansari

Mafia Mukhtar Ansari’s father Subhanalla Ansari was a nephew of this doctor politician ‘secularist’ chancellor of an Islamic educational institute. Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari had another nephew named Mohammed Abdul Aziz Ansari. His son Mohammad Hamid Ansari went on to become the longest-serving vice-president of independent India.

This Muslim person Mohammad Hamid Ansari – as an Indian – enjoyed the most respectable positions of the services he offered to the system as an ambassador of India abroad and the corresponding perks of being a loyalist to the prime political family in India, but still felt just before his last working day in the Rajya Sabha that Muslims in India are insecure like never before. NDTV journalist Gargi Rawat is the daughter-in-law of this Mohammad Hamid Ansari. She is married to his son Yusuf Ahmed Ansari.

This is the paternal family of the mafia Mukhtar Ansari. His two brothers are also elected representatives. His brother Afzal Ansari is an MP from Ghazipur. Another Ansari – called Sibkatullah Ansari – has also been an MLA.  His son Abbas, however, has aced the art of shooting and is a national-level professional shooting sportsman.

The maternal lineage of mafia Mukhtar Ansari

The maternal family of this mafia also holds a revered position in India’s history. His maternal grandfather Brigadier Mohammad Usman martyred in the Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir in a war against Pakistan on 3rd July 1948.

He was decorated with Maha Vir Chakra posthumously. He was the highest-ranked Muslim officer to have given the supreme sacrifice for India on a battlefield at that time. Against the backdrop of the partition of India on the basis of religion, this was seen as one of the greatest examples of communal harmony and sacrifice. Notably, his grandson mafia Mukhtar Ansari is accused of disturbing communal harmony and inciting religious riots against Hindus in Mau.

Mafia Mukhtar Ansari

Mukhtar Ansari – born on 30th June 1963 – had become a synonym for terror not only in Purvanchal but in the entire Uttar Pradesh. People all over North India now recognize him by his name, but now the reason for this is not the terror his name used to inspire. Since Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the multi-crore empire of crime seems to be crumbling and how. Let us first see how he built an empire of hundreds of crores by murder and ransom.

In backward areas like Purvanchal, the situation in the 70s and 80s was that more than many criminal gangs and mafia were ready to capture every project of the government. The era of shedding blood for government contracts had begun. Mukhtar Ansari climbed up the ladder of contracts to become a politician.

Initial cases against Mukhtar Ansari

There are many cases registered against this mafia who became MLA from Mau for the 5th time in 2017. The crimes enlisted in these cases are murder, attempt to murder, armed riots, criminal conspiracy, criminal intimidation, fraud for property expropriation, interference with public affairs, and willful attack to injure someone.

In the 80s, Mukhtar Ansari was involved in a gang war with another mafia Brijesh Singh. He had established his presence till Mau, Jaunpur, Ballia, and Varanasi. He pushed many youths from this area into the world of crime. In those years, the area was infamous for the cultivation of opium. His ancestral residence ‘Barka Phatak’ (literally meaning ‘Big Gate’) in Yusufpur of Ghazipur was once the hub of politics of 4 adjacent districts.

Mukhtar Ansari’s name first appeared in the Sachchidanand Rai murder case of 1988. Sachidanand Rai was killed in connection with a land dispute in the Ghazipur district. In this murder case, charges were levelled against Mukhtar Ansari. This was the first time that Mukhtar Ansari’s name was associated with a serious crime. However, the police could not gather any evidence in this case and Mukhtar Ansari could not be proven guilty. But from here, Mukhtar Ansari came into the limelight and in the 1990s, Mukhtar Ansari and his gang started occupying land, and grabbing various tenders and contracts.

Entry in politics

Mukhtar Ansari’s entry into the world of crime was not a compulsion but a well-thought-out career move. Mukhtar Ansari studied at Government City Inter College and PG College Ghazipur. He then moved into the student politics of Kashi Hindu University and later in 1996, he contested from Mau on a BSP ticket and was elected as an MLA.

Since then, he became MLA from this seat five consecutive times. In 1996, he contested from Bahujan Samaj Party. In 2002 and 2007, he got elected as an independent candidate. In 2012, he formed his party called Qaumi Ekta Dal and became an MLA from that party. In 2017, he merged his party with the BSP and was elected again as an MLA from BSP. In 2022, his son Abbas Ansari contested this seat from Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party and became an MLA. However, virtually, the power remains concentrated in the hands of the mafia jailed for a long.

The Krishnanand Rai murder case

The most important of the cases registered against Mukhtar Ansari is the incident of the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. It was 29 November 2005, which is still called a ‘Black Day’ by the people of Ghazipur. Krishnanand Rai was an MLA from Muhammadabad. He was also close to Manoj Sinha, who was a minister for 5 years in the previous central government from 2014 to 2019. It is notable that Afzal Ansari defeated Manoj Sinha in 2019 to become an MP from Ghazipur. Krishnanand Rai was killed on 29th June 2005. His six companions were also killed in this mayhem.

Unfazed by the regime, the killers fired 400 rounds of bullets. After the incident, 67 bullets were removed from the bodies of the deceased during the postmortem. Hanuman Pandey alias Rakesh Pandey who had executed this shooting was killed in an STF encounter during Yogi Adityanath’s reign. He, at the behest of Mukhtar Ansari, had killed BJP MLA Krishnanandan Rai who had come to inaugurate a cricket match at Sonadi village in the Karimuddin area, on November 29, 2005.

MLA Rai was popular among the people, which led to tremendous protests. Among those who protested were many people who are now in power in UP and Delhi. Rajnath Singh had staged a sit-in protest against this murder at that time for 14 days and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself had to come to end his protest.

Other major cases, Muslim appeasement, and riots

Mukhtar Ansari’s name also appeared in the contractor Ajay Prakash Singh’s murder case in Mau. The witness of this murder crime was also murdered. Similarly, the witness of the Krishnanand Rai murder case also died under suspicious circumstances. 

Mukhtar Ansari relied on Muslim voters in Ghazipur and Mau. Most of his henchmen were Muslims and he would take away the major chunk of Muslim votes in elections. He blended crime, politics, and religion in such a way that many incidents of communal violence occurred in Mau and surrounding areas during his tenure.

In one such incident of communal violence, Mukhtar Ansari came across a fearless Hindu monk who challenged Mukhtar Ansari’s empire of crime, terror, and religious fanaticism backed by his political power. He was none other than Yogi Adityanath who at that time was just an MP from Gorakhpur. It is notable that in 2005, Yogi Adityanath was not in power but in opposition as there was a UPA government in the centre and the Samajwadi Party government in the state.

The 2005 riots in Mau

In 2005, there was a fierce riot in Mau. Mukhtar Ansari was roaming there in an open jeep waving weapons and inciting Muslims to attack Hindu settlements. When mafia Mukhtar Ansari’s convoy used to pass through the road, no one would dare to come across him.

There were 20 to 30 SUVs of number 786 passing in a line one after the other. When Mukhtar Ansari walked, he was seen to be the tallest among his bodyguards and henchmen in his gang. But time has taken such a turn that now he has to use a wheelchair.

Mukhtar Ansari’s terror was spread in many districts including Mau, Ghazipur, Varanasi, and Azamgarh. Yogi Adityanath kept raising his voice against him. When the riot victims did not get justice in Mau, Yogi Adityanath challenged Mukhtar Ansari and said that he would get justice for the victims of the Mau riots.

In 2006, Yogi Adityanath set out from the Gorakhnath temple for Mau in a convoy of 10 to 12 vehicles. By the time Yogi Adityanath reached 30 km from Gorakhpur, the convoy of vehicles reached close to 150. The convoy moved towards Mau.

At that time, there was neither a BJP government in UP nor any support for the party in the interior parts of UP. Yogi Adityanath was stopped at Dohrighat, the border of Gorakhpur and Mau, after which Yogi Adityanath returned. It was alleged that Mukhtar Ansari was playing the game of appeasement under the protection of the state and union governments.

Mukhtar Ansari’s gang attacked Yogi Adityanath in 2008

In 2008, three years after the Mau riots, Yogi Adityanath again challenged Mukhtar Ansari. Yogi Adityanath announced that he will take out a rally under Hindu Yuva Vahini against terrorism in Azamgarh. As per the scheduled date, the rally was held on September 7, 2008, at the DAV Degree College grounds. Yogi Adityanath was supposed to address the rally.

On the morning of the rally, Yogi’s convoy left the Gorakhnath temple, which turned into more than 200 vehicles by the time it reached Azamgarh. When Yogi Adityanath’s convoy left, hundreds of vehicles other than the convoy also followed him. Several hundred motorcycles were also shouting slogans of Yogi-Yogi. Yogi Adityanath was sitting in the seventh SUV in the convoy. Suddenly, a stone was thrown at his car.

Yogi Adityanath’s convoy was attacked. The attack was preplanned. At that time, Yogi Adityanath implied that the attack was carried out by Mukhtar Ansari. Yogi Adityanath had said that bullets were continuously being fired on the convoy, vehicles were being broken, and the police remained silent. Notably, Mayawati was the chief minister of the state at that time.

The downfall

Mafia Mukhtar Ansari surrendered in 2005 in connection with the Mau riots. Being lodged in jail, he got the safest place to run his gang, because his brother Afzal Ansari was a Samajwadi Party MP from Ghazipur. SP ruled Uttar Pradesh in 2005. Various cases registered against Mukhtar Ansari did not progress much in the SP and BSP rule. However, the process of justice picked pace after Yogi Adityanath came to power in the state.

Mukhtar Ansari’s property worth hundreds of crores has not only been sealed and auctioned under the Yogi government but many of his shops and properties have also been demolished by bulldozers. His assets worth about Rs 300 crore have been either confiscated or razed off. More than 100 criminals from his gang are in jail now. In addition, about 75 arms licenses have also been cancelled. Afzal Ansari now talks about the threat to the family from the Yogi government. Afzal Ansari is also an accused in the Krishnanand Rai murder case. An MP-MLA court is going to pronounce the verdict in this case on 29th April 2023.

17 shops built on the ground floor of the Ghazal Hotel of Ghazipur were confiscated. This was located in Mahuabagh and belonged to Mukhtar Ansari’s wife Afsha Ansari. Prior to that 0.091 hectares of land were freed from the possession of one of his close associates. Earlier, coal mafia close to Ansari and owner of Tridev Construction, Umesh Singh’s four-story house built in Bhiti at a cost of Rs 10 crore, was bulldozed. Mukhtar Ansari’s sharpshooter Ali Sher was killed.

Mukhtar Ansari, who once inspired fear in the hearts of people, is now afraid himself. So much so that before being brought to UP, he had expressed the possibility of his murder during the virtual appearance in the court. He feared being killed by poisoning the food. His assets near assembly, worth crores, were confiscated. His henchman Shakeel Haider was arrested for debunking a Rs 66 crore loan. Property worth about Rs 2 crore 18 lakhs was confiscated in August 2021.

The officials who took action against Mukhtar Ansari were intimidated during the SP-BSP regime. In January 2004, Shailendra Kumar Singh was the Deputy SP in charge of the Varanasi unit of UP STF. He had recovered LMG from Mukhtar Ansari’s hideout, after which he was tortured by the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government. He had to resign. FIR was lodged against him. When he went to jail, Yogi Adityanath called his family and said, “I will do justice, when I will come to the power.” Fake cases registered against him were cancelled by the Yogi government.

The judiciary has also ordered to seize of the passports of Mukhtar Ansari’s wife and sons. Yogi government removed two IAS officers who benefited his family. Mohammad Azam, a close associate of MLA Mukhtar Ansari, himself demolished his illegal construction. Ansari gang’s Meraj and Isa Khan’s illegal buildings in Mau costing 20 crores were bulldozed. Several cases are registered against Mukhtar Ansari’s wife. She started writing a letter to the President seeking protection.

Similarly, UP Police also bulldozed the property of Azam, a close associate of Mukhtar Ansari. Azam had built an illegal hospital on the banks of the Ganges for ₹ 70Cr. Ansari’s Ghazal Hotel called ‘Mukhtar Ansari’s Taj Mahal’ in Ghazipur was demolished. FIR was lodged against Afzal Ansari’s wife Farhat for encroachment on the property. Property worth Rs 39 lakh was seized from his henchman Rajneesh Singh. His vehicles worth 4.5 crores were seized. His sons were declared criminals.

MP-MLA court to pronounce punishment on 29th April 2023

The MP-MLA court of Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh has rescheduled the date for the order on cases against Mukhtar Ansari to April 29. In this order, the court is going to award the punishment to Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal Ansari under the Gangster Act.

The date for the court order was postponed, according to additional district government counsel (criminal) Ghazipur Niraj Srivastava, because the MP-MLA court’s presiding officer was not present on Saturday, 15th April 2023. He stated that on April 1 when the court withheld its decision, the trial in the case was completed.

Both Mukhtar Ansari and Afzal Ansari are booked under the gangster act in 2007. Mukhtar Ansari was charged for his role in the 1996 abduction of coal industrialist and Vishwa Hindu Parishad office-holder Nandkishore Rungta and the murder of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai in 2005. After being listed on the gang chart created in response to the murder of Krishnand Rai, Afzal Ansari was also booked in this case.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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