Death to Atiq: What can bring peace to Shanti Devi

Shanti Devi seeks death penalty for Atiq Ahmed, who was sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping of her son, Umesh Pal

NEW DELHI | Updated: 28 March, 2023 6:33 pm IST

Mother of the killed lawyer Umesh Pal, Shanti Devi, had expressed unhappiness after a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj sentenced the gangster-politician Atiq Ahmed to life sentence in the 2006 kidnapping of her son.

Putting her faith in UP Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is determined to end mafia raj in the state, Shanti Devi demanded a death sentence for the former Samajwadi Party MLA.

“He (Atiq Ahmed) was sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping my son. But he should be given a death sentence for killing my son,” Shanti Devi said.

“He will continue to terrorise people and continue his nefarious activities while sitting in jail, where he will be accorded all the facilities. Which is why I am requesting a death sentence for Atiq Ahmed,” Shanti Devi said, adding, “I have faith in UP CM Yogi Adityanath.”

ALSO READ: UP don Atiq, two aides get life term in 2006 Umesh Pal abduction case

Ahmed, who unleashed terror on Uttar Pradesh over the last three decades, and two others were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in Prayagraj in the 2006 Umesh Pal abduction case on Tuesday, March 28.

The special MP/MLA court convicted Atiq and co-accused Dinesh Pasi and Khan Sauqat Hanif and also imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh on them.

Ahmed and Pasi have been convicted under sections 364A (kidnapping for ransom), 120B (a party to criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 323/149 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 504 (insult), 506(2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. Khan has been found guilty under Sections 364 (abduction) and 120B (a party to criminal conspiracy).

The court, however, acquitted Ahmed’s jailed brother Ashraf and six others of all charges. The six other accused are Javed alias Bajju, Farhan, Aabid, Israr, Asif, and Ejaz Akhtar.

Another accused Ansar Baba died during the course of the court trial.

Ahmed, who was brought to Prayagraj on Monday evening by road from Sabarmati jail in Gujarat, along with his jailed brother Ashraf was produced before the court amid tight security arrangements. Ashraf was also brought from Bareilly jail to the city last evening.

ALSO READ: Ghar Wapsi: UP Police take Atiq Ahmad’s custody; to bring him home

Meanwhile, advocates raised slogans demanding capital punishment for Ahmed when he was brought to the court premises. The gangster stared at demonstrators in anger but the sloganeering continued.

In February, 2006, Umesh Pal – who was gunned down allegedly by Ahmed’s men in broad daylight in Prayagraj last month – filed a complaint with police alleging that he was kidnapped at gunpoint earlier that month after he refused to back down under the mafia’s pressure.

However, police registered the FIR based on Umesh’s complaint more than a year later on July 5, 2007 against Ahmed, his brother and some unidentified people.

Pal, then a zila panchayat member, was the prime witness in the murder of then BJP legislator Raju Pal after he defeated Ashraf from Allahabad (West) Assembly seat in the 2005 Assembly elections. Ahmed along with Ashraf is accused in the sensational murder case.

On February 24 this year, Umesh Pal was murdered in a shootout near his residence in a busy neighbourhood in Prayagraj when he returned after appearing before a city court in the Raju Pal murder case.

ALSO READ: Gangster Atiq needed Sister, Brahmin lawyer for protection on-route to Prayagraj

Two police guards provided to Umesh Pal were also killed in the gunfight. While a cop succumbed to bullet injuries on the spot, another lost his battle for life in a hospital a few days later.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Atiq Ahmed for protection during his custody with the Uttar Pradesh Police in the Umesh Pal case, claiming that he was under threat in the state.

The apex court, however, granted him liberty to approach the Allahabad High Court to seek protection. While turning down his plea, a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi said that the UP state machinery will take care of his protection in case of any threat to his life.

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