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HomePoliticsAfter Umesh Pal Shootout, ‘Bullet & Bulldozer’ for Mafia in Yogi's Sarkar...

After Umesh Pal Shootout, ‘Bullet & Bulldozer’ for Mafia in Yogi’s Sarkar Raj

It is the land of holy Sangam. From times immortal, it is revered as the land of ‘moksha’ by millions of Hindus. Over time, it has also emerged as a centre of modern learning and a cradle for India’s national and political movement.

The city of Prayagraj, erstwhile Allahabad, that gave India its first prime minister is today in the news following a sensational shootout and the mafia that attempted to throw a dare at Yogi Adityanath’s policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards the big mafia.

On February 24, when Yogi Adityanath’s government in Lucknow was rolling out the road map for state’s future growth and development through its budget of around Rs 7 lakh crore for the financial year 2023-24, peace in the Dhoomanganj area of Prayagraj, some 230 km from the state capital, was shattered by gunshots and bomb explosions in broad daylight.

Leading this brazen attack on one Umesh Pal was none other than jailed mafia don and former Samajwadi Party law maker Atiq Ahmad’s son Asad.


In a matter of minutes, Adityanath’s policy of zero tolerance against the organised crime and the mafia, which was rigorously pursued since 2017, was up for a challenge. As opposition lapped up the opportunity, claiming failure of the Yogi government and return of the mafia raj in the state, the government was initially pushed to a corner.

After all, Atiq and his brother, former MLA Ashraf had been behind bars for several years now. Since 2019, Atiq has, in fact, been cooling his heels far away from UP in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad jail. The years gone by had seen bulldozers rolling in on Atiq’s properties, including his home and the office. And when many have just started believing it was the end of the story for the jailed don, he was back in the news with a sensational murder of the man who was largely seen standing against him in Prayagraj.

Umesh Pal, athough had turned hostile against accused Atiq and his brother Ashraf in the 2005 BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case, he had opened a new front against the Bahubali after Yogi government had come to power in 2017. Umesh had accused Atiq of kidnapping him, a case in which he had recently also deposed against the don.


Why was Umesh not targeted before he deposed? Answer to this question lies probably in the mafia’s desperation to reassert itself. Prayagraj-based senior journalist Anupam Mishra says, “The mafia is terrorised ever since Adityanath became the chief minister. They have suffered severe blows. The broad daylight attack on Umesh and its style was clearly aimed at reestablishing the lost clout.”

Another notable fact in this shootout was the assailants were not bothered to conceal their identities and the entire assault was led by Atiq’s son Asad.

Mishra makes an interesting observation. He says, “Asad executed the murder, most likely with approval from his father. A silent murder would not have helped regain the terror tag for the family. Asad’s open entry into the crime is intended to signal the generational change in the leadership of the gang.”


With Asad now being on the run with a reward of Rs 2.5 lakh on his head, the police have launched a massive hunt for him. Sources in UP Police say his location could be somewhere in Nepal. Talking to media in Lucknow, Prashant Kumar, ADG Law and order of UP Police, said, “Our several teams are in pursuit of the missing assailants. All will be soon accounted for.”

Meanwhile, the government, after the initial setback, has now moved forward with vengeance. The tone was set clear by the CM, when he thundered at the opposition earlier last month on the floor of the house.

Tearing into to the opposition’s attack, Yogi said, “The Samajwadi Party created Atiq, now my government will ground the mafia to the dust (mitti mein mila denge).”

As Yogi made the intentions clear, the policy of zero tolerance now seems to have been further sharpened with the policy of ‘bullets and bulldozers’ for the mafia. Days since Umesh’s murder and tragic death of two police jawans in his security, the heat is on Atiq gang’s shooters and associates.

Two shooters Arbaz and Usman allegedly involved in the murder have been killed in police encounters. One Sadakat Khan has been arrested. Three huge properties, all being the residences of alleged associates of the gang, have been demolished using bulldozers. Those in government and in knowledge of the plans ahead say this ‘bullet and bulldozer’ policy will be in action in near future.

Sources say the UP CM, known for his resolve, is now in no mood to give the likes of Atiq or Mukhtar Ansari breathing space. The presence of mafia and its attempts to reassert itself can threaten the government’s entire discourse around development and vikas.

For the CM who wants to make UP a $1-trillion economy by 2027, his most cherished goal can in no way risk the coming back of jungle raj tag for Uttar Pradesh.

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