Mukhtar Ansari, Ateeq Ahmed and Azam Khan

Mukhtar Ansari has assiduously constructed a political constituency across the Varanasi-Mau-Ghazipur-Jaunpur area. Ateeq Ahmed too has an enchanting pedigree. As for Azam Khan, he has 80 criminal circumstances towards him.

Yogi Adityanath got here to energy in Uttar Pradesh in 2017 at the pledge to crackdown on criminals and reform the prison justice device. To exhibit a duration of tranquillity, the Yogi executive went in for competitive policing of the native Mafiosi.

Incarceration of 3 infamous names from the arena of native crime — Mukhtar Ansari, Ateeq Ahmed and Azam Khan — used to be intended to turn that no person is above the regulation or political patronage. All 3 have visual and tough connections inside the Indian polity. Additionally, they’re regarded as heroic outlaws of their fiefdoms.

Tightening of the screws on hardboiled gangsters however, there are experiences alleging this clean-up is its personal type of racial profiling. The Opposition claims the “Thakur Mafia” has no longer been focused.

Union house minister Amit Shah, all over an election rally in UP, mentioned, “Where are Ateeq Ahmed, Mukhtar Ansari, Azam Khan now? If you want them to stay in jail, vote for the BJP in the elections.”

I spoke with a retired senior prison officer in UP. He used to be in-charge when each Mukhtar and Ateeq Ahmed had been in jail. He mentioned, on situation of anonymity, “Mukhtar was a flagrant flouter of rules; constantly demanding comforts in prison; making veiled threats.”

It sounds as if, Mukhtar gently conveyed to this officer that he had looked at his antecedents and lineage. The risk and means used to be intended to warn the officer to stick in Mukhtar’s just right books. The officer used humour to deflect it via announcing his circle of relatives and others had been staying clear of Azamgarh, Mukhtar’s area.

Political clout is very important to the survival of those dons.

Mukhtar Ansari has held the seat of Mau since1996, having gained 5 occasions on a BSP price tag. He gained’t be contesting this time round. His son is the placeholder.

Mukhtar is a political thoroughbred. He’s the grandson of Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari who used to be the president of Indian Nationwide Congress in its early years. His maternal grandfather used to be Brigadier Mohammad Usman. Mukhtar additionally occurs to be a far off nephew of India’s former Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

He has assiduously constructed a political constituency across the Varanasi-Mau-Ghazipur-Jaunpur area. In a moderately cultivated philanthropic symbol, his civic vocation contains financing marriages, donations for infrastructure and different profitable charities. All of the whilst in jail.

Anecdotal proof of his affect used to be given via the retired prison officer. In 2007, Nasimuddin Siddiqui, the BSP MLA, met Mukhtar in prison at night time. In an instant submit the seek advice from, the similar prison officer were given a decision from a awesome, announcing switch orders of Mukhtar to Ghazipur prison must be ready right away. By way of middle of the night, Mukhtar have been escorted out. The explanation given used to be he used to be required for some native elections.

Lucknow old-timers communicate of the don like presence of Mukhtar at weddings the place a protracted line of fellows queue as much as kiss his hand, as an indication of obeisance and gratitude.

However ever because the BJP took over in Uttar Pradesh, Mukhtar has been fearful a few danger to his lifestyles. Mukhtar is stored below consistent CCTV surveillance this is monitored from a keep an eye on room in Lucknow. That is carried out to make sure he involves no hurt within the prison. His lifestyles got here below higher peril ever since two of his relied on males had been killed.

In 2018, Munna Bajrangi, considered one of Mukhtar’s sicarios used to be killed within the Baghpat district prison. In August 2020, Rakesh Pandey used to be killed in Lucknow in an stumble upon via the police. Each those males had been a part of the group that killed Krishnanand Rai, BJP MLA, in 2005.

Mukhtar went after rival gang member Brijesh Singh ever since he changed into an MLA in 1996. They clashed over the area’s contract industry. However in 2002, Krishnanand Rai, any other BJP MLA, allegedly supported Brijesh.

In 2002, Mukhtar’s convoy used to be ambushed via Brijesh Singh. 3 of Mukhtar’s males died whilst some from Brijesh Singh’s gang additionally died. Brijesh Singh used to be significantly injured. However he survived.  In 2004, the UP State Process Pressure had internally warned of Mukhtar’s males buying mild gadget weapons from global sellers.

In November 2005, Krishnanand Rai together with six folks, had been killed in a daylight hours assault.

In 2010, Mukhtar used to be suspended from BSP because of his prison actions. He then shaped a brand new political birthday party Quami Ekta Dal (QED). In 2016, information of Mukhtar’s birthday party QED being merged with SP on the initiative of Shivpal Yadav induced a rift with Akhilesh Yadav.

Akhilesh resented aligning with Mukhtar. He additionally chilly shouldered Ateeq Ahmed at a rally. This ended in a sour feud with Shivpal that has since been resolved.

Ateeq, however, the retired officer mentioned, used to be a well-behaved inmate. By no means bent jail laws or throw his weight round. Didn’t ask for too many freebies. Actually, he would funny story: “Main jail ki hi paidaish hun.” (I’m a made of the prison.)

Addressing a political rally in Allahabad the place Ateeq used to be out on parole, his fans grew to become out in massive numbers — no longer as a result of they had been coerced to however as a result of his affect.

The BJP executive desires to ship out the sign it desires to rid the state of “goonda raj”. That does in finding resonance. I spoke with a carpet producer in Bhadohi (UP), who mentioned they suffered so much all over the SP regime. “There were blatant attempts made for land grab, extortion, thugs landing up at our manufacturing unit on the flimsiest of pretext,” he mentioned. Different producers too in that belt really feel extra protected below the BJP regime.

Ateeq Ahmed too has an enchanting pedigree. He used to be elected as MLA from the Allahabad West seat for 5 consecutive occasions which remains to be a report. In 2004-09, he used to be elected as an SP MP from Phulpur in UP. From 1999-2003 he used to be the president of the Apna Dal.

Essentially the most sensational homicide payment towards him used to be that of BSP MLA Raju Buddy, who had defeated his brother Ashraf within the 2004 Uttar Pradesh Meeting polls.

On 8 August, 2002, Ateeq Ahmad used to be then an MLA and in prison because of political contention with then CM Mayawati. Right through a courtroom look, he confronted a bomb assault however survived. In 2014, he used to be taken again into the SP and fought the overall elections from Shrawasti. He misplaced to the BJP.

On 14 December 2016, Ateeq and his henchmen allegedly assaulted the workforce participants of Sam Higginbottom College of Agriculture, Generation and Sciences for taking motion towards two scholars who had been debarred for dishonest. The video went viral.

Azam Khan is a distinct breed of mobster. A well known face of SP from Rampur, he has 80 criminal circumstances towards him associated with land encroachment and prison intimidation registered towards him. There are a number of circumstances of land grasp registered towards the NGO ‘Jauhar Trust’ based via Khan.

Azam Khan has been in prison for roughly two years on a couple of fees. He had surrendered together with his spouse Tanzeen Fatma, the MLA from the Rampur meeting seat, and son Abdullah Azam Khan, who’s contesting on a Samajwadi Birthday celebration price tag from the Suar constituency. Azam Khan is the Lok Sabha MP from Rampur.

Happily, those elections have focused the “goonda raj” via each BJP and SP. The BJP is, in fact, pushing its election plank via announcing — you were given what you voted for.

Beneath duress to rid itself of the taint of being the pro-mafia foyer, the SP below Akhilesh has attempted onerous to distance itself from lots of the heavies. Akhilesh is aware of the problem for him is convincing the non-Yadav populace that he may well be their messiah.

But, from time to time, previous luggage will not be that easy to shed. It may stick like a limpet.

The writer is CEO of nnis. Perspectives expressed are non-public.

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