Atiq’s world crumbles like a house of cards

It has been over a month since gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were shot dead live on camera on April 15 in Prayagraj. About two years before the killings, the Yogi Adityanath government had started chipping away at the strongman’s unchallenged four-decade-long hold in Prayagraj using a mix of incarceration in connection with a slew of cases against Atiq and his associates, encounters and bulldozers.

On March 22, the Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) had issued a show cause notice to Guddu Muslim, the absconding associate of the slain gangster-turned-politician, in Chakia, which was Atiq’s base.

The notice, dated March 10, asked why Guddu’s house shouldn’t be demolished or sealed “because you have not taken permission for the construction of approximately 13*45 feet complex under section 14-15 of the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning & Development Act, 1973. The permit for this complex has not been shown…”.

Chakia has seen the demolition of 10 properties belonging to Atiq and his associates over the past two years on charges of “construction violations”. The 10 buildings — none less than 2,500 square feet in area — were located on a 1-km stretch.

Days after Yogi Adityanath declared in the Assembly, “Iss mafia ko mitti me mila denge (we will reduce the mafia to dust)”, Atiq had, in an admission of defeat, said, “Bilkul mitti mein mil gaye hain.”

A day later, on April 13, Atiq’s son, 19-year-old Asad, and an aide were shot dead in an alleged encounter. On April 15, Atiq and his brother Ashraf were shot dead. Now, a month later, as bulldozers circle the 11th building in the Chakia area — Guddu Muslim’s — Atiq’s world in Prayagraj is now a heap of rubble.

The 10 properties in Chakia that stand demolished: